Riley Greene Replacement Option 3: Trades
So maybe the Detroit Tigers use Riley Greene’s injury as an excuse to make a blockbuster trade. Sure, the chances of that happening are probably infinitesimal, but let’s have some fun.
The biggest name out there is probably Bryan Reynolds. It’s hard to imagine the Pirates would want to part with one of the best players in baseball, but there were recent rumors linking him to the Padres.
For those unfamiliar with Reynolds, he’s a 27-year-old switch-hitting center fielder who hit .302/.390/.522 last year. He was one of just five qualified hitters last year to bat .300 or better with 20+ home runs and a double-digit walk rate. The other four were Freddie Freeman, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bryce Harper, and Juan Soto. Reynolds was also one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball according to Baseball Savant, though other sites considered him slightly below average.
The biggest issue here is the acquisition cost for the Tigers. Reynolds isn’t a free agent until 2026, so he would cost a fortune to acquire. Players this good don’t often get traded so far from free agency, so it’s hard to find comparable examples. But the Tigers would probably have to part with one of their three young starters, Akil Baddoo, and Jackson Jobe. It’s not ideal.
Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays could be an option. He doesn’t provide much in terms of offense, but he’s one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball and he should be relatively inexpensive. If not him, then perhaps his teammate Austin Meadows, who always seems to be available. He’s not much of a defender and doesn’t hit for a high average, but he gets on base and hits for power.
Perhaps the Cubs would discuss Ian Happ. Or maybe the Dodgers would part with Cody Bellinger and his $17-million contract. But if they’re willing to sell low on their former MVP, then the Tigers should probably stay far away.
Riley Greene hasn’t played an official game in a Detroit Tigers uniform, yet somehow he already feels irreplaceable. That’s a testament to his promise as a player, but also a reminder that the Tigers still have a long way to go before they’re real contenders.