Detroit Tigers: 5 shortstop trade targets
By Chris Brown
Most fans are counting on the Detroit Tigers to sign a big free agent shortstop this offseason, and the odds are they will. But the Tigers aren’t the only team in the market.
It’s Contender November here at motor City Bengals, and we’ve spent much of the last week discussing those free agent shortstops — Javier Báez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Trevor Story.
But what if the unthinkable happens and the Detroit Tigers whiff on all of the top free agent shortstops? There are internal options, like Isaac Paredes and Ryan Kreidler, but if Detroit truly wants to contend they may prefer players with more of a proven tack record.
So, let’s look at five potential trades the Tigers could pursue should they strike out on the free agent front. We won’t pretend these are explosive and exciting deals, but it’s hard to persuade teams to part with star shortstops.
Detroit Tigers Shortstop Trade Option Number 1 – Miguel Rojas
Miguel Rojas is a thoroughly average big-league ballplayer. He’s a career .265/.320/.365 hitter with 33 home runs in more than 2,300 at-bats. He doesn’t walk a ton, but he’s also one of the hardest hitters in baseball to strikeout, with just a 12.7% strikeout rate for his career. Detroit’s shortstops struck out 28.1% of the time last year. FanGraphs ranks Rojas as the 4th best defensive shortstop over the past three years, while Fielding Bible has him slightly above average, and Statcast sees him as slightly below average.
The Marlins just signed him to a two-year, $10-million extension, and they consider him their clubhouse leader, so perhaps they aren’t interested in trading him at all. But, maybe they’d think about it if the Tigers offer an interesting young infielder in return:
It’s true Isaac Paredes hasn’t done much yet in his MLB career, but he turns 23 right around the same time Rojas turns 33, and his strong minor-league track record suggests he has more upside. Miami theoretically already has Rojas’ replacement in Jazz Chisholm Jr., who struggled a bit at short this year but has all the tools to excel there. Rojas wouldn’t move the needle for Tigers fans, but Detroit finished with -0.1 fWAR from their shortstops last year, and Rojas’ 2.8 fWAR would be a significant upgrade. His low salary would also let the Tigers spend bigger in other areas.