Detroit Tigers Free Agency Option 1: Starling Marte and Trevor Story
The Detroit Tigers need help all over the field, but it’s no secret shortstop and center field are two of their biggest weak spots. They currently rank 26th in WAR from center fielders, and 28th in WAR from shortstops, according to FanGraphs. A.J. Hinch likes to put pressure on opposing defenses, and in Trevor Story and Starling Marte the Tigers would be landing two of the more dynamic power/speed threats in the game. They are two of just four players with at least 60 home runs and 80 steals over the last four seasons, joining José Ramírez and Trea Turner.
Trevor Story has had a bit of a down year offensively, though perhaps that’s understandable given the general chaos surrounding the Colorado Rockies. His underlying data still looks solid, though, and he ranks 3rd among all shortstops in defensive runs saved over the past four seasons. It’s possible Story can be signed for less than $30 million a year, given his down year, a strong crop of shortstops, and general uneasiness about Coors Field performance. But Manny Machado and Francisco Lindor set the shortstop market at 10-years, $300 million, so Story’s agent will certainly push for something similar.
Starling Marte presents a different challenge. He’ll be 33 soon, he’s in the midst of a career year, and he’s easily the top option among free agent center fielders. His power production is down a bit, but he’s demonstrating heretofore unseen lead-off skills, with a career-low swing rate leading to a career-high walk rate, and outstanding success on the basepaths, with 45 steals in 50 tries. The most similar recent free agent is probably Lorenzo Cain, who signed a five-year, $80-million deal with the Brewers prior to his age-32 season, so Marte’s agent will likely push for more than that.