Detroit Tigers: 3 potential Casey Mize trades

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize looks on during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize looks on during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Casey Mize Trade Option Number 2 – The Toronto Blue Jays

Casey Mize
Nate Pearson delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins. Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Blue Jays had one of the most fearsome offenses in all of baseball this year, but their pitching let them down far too often. Potential Cy Young winner Robbie Ray is a free agent, and so is Steven Matz, who posted a solid 3.82 ERA and finished third on the team with 150.2 IP. Jose Berrios is only signed through 2022, and Hyun Jin Ryu is a free agent after 2023, so the Blue Jays could definitely use another young starter to go alongside Alek Manoah.

Toronto’s infield was spectacular this year, but Marcus Semien is likely to turn his MVP-caliber production into a massive free agent deal elsewhere. Jeimer Candelario can’t make up for that power, but, his on-base percentage was about 20 points higher than Semien’s this year, and he would give Toronto a much-needed lefty bat for the next two seasons. Santiago Espinal was quietly solid for Toronto this year, and he played plenty of second base in the minors, so he can easily slide over from third. Michael Fulmer is in his final season before free agency, but he’d be a huge addition to Toronto’s bullpen, and the Blue Jays could pretty easily sign him to an extension if things go well.

Toronto has an abundance of young infielders and catchers, both at the MLB level and in the minors, so they can afford to make a trade like this, but it probably qualifies as a high-risk, high-reward move for the Tigers. Jordan Groshans has battled injuries ever since he was drafted 12th overall in 2018, but he has remained a top-100 prospect because he shows plenty of potential whenever he does play. He turns 22 next month and has just 146 career pro games under his belt, but he owns a .300/.372/.453 career batting line, and this year in Double-A he hit .291 with a 10.8% walk rate, seven home runs, and 23 doubles in just 75 games. He has played a lot of shortstop, but he probably fits best at third base.

Few pitchers in baseball have the pure arm talent of Nate Pearson. He was generally regarded as a top-20 prospect in all of baseball over the previous two seasons, his fastball topped out at 101.8 MPH this year, and he famously hit 104 MPH in the Arizona Fall League. But, like Groshans, Pearson has dealt with a number of injuries over the past few seasons, and he has walked 25 batters in just 33 MLB innings. There’s still some front-line starter potential here, but also a lot of reliever risk. And Reese McGuire helps solve Detroit’s catching problem, at least in the short term. He doesn’t offer much power, but he grades out well on defense, and he’s a left-handed hitter with a career 102 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.