Rumor: Detroit Tigers listed as possible destination for 3 free agents

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 20: Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs celebrates a walk-off win in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 20: Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs celebrates a walk-off win in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on August 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers offseason rumor mill is starting to heat up

The offseason is almost here. The Astros are one win away from winning the World Series, and if they win game six tomorrow night, the offseason would officially start on Sunday. If not, it would start Monday. Most Detroit Tigers fans are just waiting for it end so the offseason can begin.

But just because the offseason isn’t here yet doesn’t mean the hot stove can’t heat up. Jon Heyman of The New York Post just released his top 30 free agent rankings with expert predictions on what kind of deal they could get, and which teams could be interested in them. The Detroit Tigers were listed as possible destinations for three mid-tier free agents: OF Brandon Nimmo, C Willson Contreras, and OF Andrew Benintendi.

The fact that the Tigers are rumored to be in on anybody is nice to see, especially since most people feel like they’ll be bargain-hunting this offseason. We don’t really know what Scott Harris’ approach to free agency will be. We’ll find out when everybody else does.

Let’s dive into each of these free agents. Nimmo is a former first-round pick who has played his entire career for the New York Mets to this point. He’s been an on-base machine throughout his career, with a career .385 OBP and 130 OPS+, and we know the latter is a stat that Scott Harris really likes. He’s never been a huge home run guy, but he’s still got a career slugging percentage of .441.

Defensively, he’s fantastic, with a career outs above average of 15, although DRS isn’t as kind to him at -2 for his career. He’d be a great addition to the Tigers outfield.

The question for him would be the price. The expert in Heyman’s article predicts he’ll get a seven-year, $145 million, which might be out of the Tigers price range. Nimmo is 29, so he’s still got a few years of his prime left in him, but a huge question mark with him is his health. He’s only played more than 100 games twice in his career. Do the Tigers really want to commit that kind of money to a guy who might hit the IL at least once a year?

Spotrac has Nimmo getting a five-year, $105 million deal, which I think is much more in line for him in terms of years. If the Tigers can get him on a deal like that, you do it and stick him near the top of the order for the next five years.

There’s been some speculation on Contreras to the Tigers for some time now, as there’s some overlap with him and Scott Harris when Harris was in the Cubs front office. If there’s one thing to like about him, it’s that he just rakes. He has a career .808 OPS and a career 118 wRC+. Last season, he had his best offensive season to date with 22 homers and a 132 wRC+. A catcher with that kind of offensive prowess is hard to come by.

Heyman’s article has him getting a four-year, $88 million, which sounds about right on years, but might be a little too much for the Tigers. Contrastly, Spotrac has the same amount of years, but for only $64 million. If I’m Scott Harris, that’s where I start the bidding and go from there.

Benintendi is by far the least flashy free agent on this list, but he’d also be the cheapest by a landslide. He was having a great year for the Royals before being traded to the Yankees, where he was okay. He slashed .320/.387/.398 in 93 games with KC and .254/.331/.404 in 33 games with New York.

Heyman’s expert has Benintendi set to get a four-year, $56 million deal, while Spotrac has him getting a huge pay day of six years, $104 million. I don’t want him at either of those prices. If he’s willing to accept a two or three-year deal with a player option mixed in, I’d consider it. But I think the Tigers could do a little better than Benintendi. If they’re going to go for an outfielder, I’d much rather have Nimmo.

This is the first time we’ve seen the Detroit Tigers linked to any free agents and it’s technically not even the offseason yet. Hopefully we’ll start to see more very soon. It’s about to get fun around here.

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