Detroit Tigers: Considering a Matthew Boyd for Brandon Marsh trade

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Matthew Boyd has come up in trade rumors for the Detroit Tigers this offseason. One possible trade would be with the Los Angeles Angels for Brandon Marsh.

Given that the Detroit Tigers are in full rebuild mode, it makes sense that any major league assets would come up in trade rumors. The Tigers don’t have a lot to offer right now, which is why Matthew Boyd, who was named Detroit Tiger of the Year, is coming up in so many discussions this winter. recently reported that the Tigers have had talks with the Los Angeles Angels about Boyd and that outfield prospect Brandon Marsh has been mentioned as a potential name to come to Detroit in return. Would this be a good trade for the Tigers to make?

If the Tigers are going to trade Boyd, his value is probably as high as it’s ever going to be. While he has yet to post an ERA under 4.00 for a whole season, he has posted a respectable 4.43 ERA while making 63 starts over the past two years. Despite a rocky end to the 2019 season, the 28-year-old southpaw was still good for a 3.5 WAR, while overall his walk rate was down and his strikeout rate was way up. The fact that he still has three years of control figures to make him an attractive trade option for many teams.

Meanwhile, the Angels are desperate for starting pitching after a 2019 season in which they didn’t have a single pitcher make 20 starts or win more than eight games, while only one pitcher (Trevor Cahill) was able to give them at least 100 innings. While they missed out on Gerrit Cole, they have traded for Dylan Bundy and signed Julio Teheran this offseason. Those moves will certainly help, but they could use more depth.

As for Marsh, the 22-year-old is the Angels’ #2 overall prospect behind Jo Adell and had a solid 2019 campaign in AA, posting a .300/.383/.428 AVG/OBP/SLG line. According to, he projects to hit for average and power, can play all three outfield positions, and is expected to arrive in the majors in 2020.

So why would the Angels trade Marsh? Given that they appear to be in win-now mode, especially with the hiring of Joe Maddon as manager and the signing of Anthony Rendon, they may feel the need to give up at least one prospect for a rotation upgrade. The Angels may find Marsh to be expendable if they have an outfield of Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Adell in 2020 – assuming the highly-regarded Adell is ready to take on a major league role this coming season.

The problem with a Boyd-Marsh trade from the Tigers’ perspective is that, while it would fill one need in the outfield, it would leave a big hole in a rotation that was already thin in 2019. If the recent signings of C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop are any indication, the Tigers are at least trying to field a more competitive team in 2020. Losing Boyd would be a giant step backward in that regard.

Also, one prospect might seem like a low return for an established starting pitcher like Boyd; perhaps the Angels could throw in a minor league pitcher or two from their farm system, though it’s already one of the league’s weakest. Still, if the Tigers are serious about trading Boyd, Marsh would be a great player to get for 2020 and beyond. It will be interesting to see whether the rumor mentioned above leads to a Tigers-Angels trade.

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