Detroit Tigers Trade Target Idea: Catcher Austin Allen
The Detroit Tigers could use a left-handed catcher. The Oakland A’s have one in Austin Allen. Does it make sense? Let’s discuss.
Since the off-season has begun, we here at Motor City Bengals have tried to come up with trade ideas that realistically, may not ever happen but would make sense for the Detroit Tigers to attempt to do. As I said in my first piece with Tyler O’Neil, the goal is to keep the idea in realism.
The reason why I am putting what sounds like a disclaimer in front of this piece is we want the readers to think about the idea and tell us if you think it’s a good or just a trash idea. Consider this Detroit Tigers trade court, and you are judging the value and the possibility of this happening. Now, to state the case.
Who is Austin Allen?
The 6’2, 219 lbs Allen is a catcher who was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 4th round in the 2015 draft. He came over to Oakland in the winter of 2019 for Jurickson Profar. He is known for being a hit first catcher with some power, having a career .ISO of over .200 in his time in the minors.
While his numbers at Triple-A El Paso in 2019 stand out with a slash line of .330/.379/.663 with an OPS of 1.042, just a reminder that the Pacific Coast League is so “hitter friendly” that had former Tigers infielder Dixon Machado hit 17 homers for the Iowa Cubs in 2019.
When he was first called up to San Diego, in 61 plate appearances, Allen struggled, hitting just .215 and striking out at a 29.6% clip. In 2020, after a very quiet start at the plate, he did hit his first major league home run on August 5. After that, he went 4-for-17 before getting sent back down to alternate camp when the A’s called up Jonah Heim.
He isn’t a prospect anymore as he just turned 27 years old. Defensively, he has an average arm behind the plate and is a decent receiver but has spent time playing first base in college and in the minors so that gives him added versatility. If Detroit wants to platoon the catcher position and first, Allen is capable of both.
Does it benefit the Detroit Tigers? The conclusion
According to Baseball Trade Values, it would cost you, Gregory Soto to get him. Although Jake Diekman has been slated to be the closer in 2021 per General Manager David Frost, he is 34 and if they acquire Soto, it could be a closer waiting in the wings for beyond 2021.
Why trade for a catcher who has power upside with an average arm behind the plate? Outside of the fact he is left-handed, Al Avila has stated the team isn’t going to spend this winter. So what does Avila and former general manager Randy Smith have in common? Budgets. While granted, two different areas of baseball here between the two, Smith at least made trades to make the team better because he could not spend. Sometimes they were hits (Damion Easley) and sometimes there were misses (Juan Gonzalez)
This is a type of trade that costs you a reliever but you bring in a position of need back to see what he is capable of. He has a minor-league option left and if you want to see what he can do with either Grayson Greiner or Jake Rogers, it isn’t a bad idea. Dustin Garneau, who signed a minor league deal back in December, is right-handed and does not hit for power.
One question that will certainly be asked is about what Dillon Dingler? We have yet to see him in the minor leagues and he could be a year or two away.
Toronto has five catchers on their 40-man roster and they could use pitching help. Does this trade need to happen? Heck no. Like the Victor Caratini trade idea that I proposed in the fall, his strength was his defense. San Diego thought enough of Caratini to ask for him in the Yu Darvish but then again he was arbitration-eligible so that could have been a factor for the Cubs to throw him in.
At any rate, I have presented my trade case to you, the reader. Let us know what you think of the idea.
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