With the MLB owners giving the MLBPA the deadline for a deal to happen by February 28th, what should the Detroit Tigers do?
First and foremost, I want to thank Duane Pesice from our Chicago Cubs site, Cubbies Crib, for the headline idea. As the news broke that the owners and the MLBPA have made minimal progress in coming to an agreement, Detroit Tigers fans and front office staff watched the future Tigers down in Lakeland this past week.
We have discussed the three needs the Tigers will need to address immediately recently, which are true and will more than likely not be ignored, which is addressing the bullpen, rotation, and depth. But there is arbitration to consider, the Rule 5 draft, which has only happened at the minor league level and making room on the 40-man roster for perhaps Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene to start the season
Detroit Tigers who are arbitration eligible domino effect
There are eight players who are arbitration eligible for the Tigers. Jeimer Candelario, Harold Castro, Jose Cisnero, Dustin Garneau, Michael Fulmer, Joe Jimenez, Victor Reyes and Spencer Turnbull. MLB Trade Rumors did a nice job on projecting their potential raises recently with Fulmer and Candelario both in the $5 million dollar a year range.
Candelario lead the team in bWAR with a 3.8 and proved that his 2020 short season numbers were no fluke. His splits were good, hitting .273 against lefties and .270 against righties, but with more power, 13 home runs.
Fulmer found his place in the bullpen last season as he allowed just one run in September, finishing the season on a high note.
If Torkelson breaks camp with the Tigers, the question becomes what to do with Isaac Paredes. Candelario does not have to play first anymore and Jonathan Schoop proved last season he could play first and hold his own. This is a question that has been coming up the last few seasons, but if you look at the bench currently, you have Eric Haase, Harold and Willi Castro & Derek Hill.
The Tigers started Paredes in Triple-A last season because he is better when he is getting regular at-bats. A.J. Hinch is a fan of Paredes but between injuries last season and his positional ability limited to 3rd and 2nd base, does it make sense for Detroit to trade him for a back end starter?
The free agent market has a lot of veteran arms the Tigers could sign, but some may have too many innings on the arm to consider. Detroit could look to Oakland as a trade partner as it has been rumored they are going to move players in order to keep payroll down.
It would take a package to get either Chris Bassitt or Sean Manaea, who MLB Trade Rumors predict would be on the move. Both pitchers can be free agents after this season, so it would be really be up to management to take a risk.
If Oakland moves Matt Chapman, a trade for Paredes would make sense. Jordan Diaz, who is on the A’s 40-man roster, has not played about High-A and Paredes is a good fit into what the A’s like, a player who plays solid defense, can hit and draw walks.
Whenever this lockout ends, be prepared for a frenzy of activity to complete this Detroit Tigers 40-man roster.