Could Jack Flaherty injury update potentially affect trade value for Tigers?

Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers
Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

Jack Flaherty, who's become a key figure in the Tigers' pitching staff this season, has been absent from the mound since June 4, when he pitched five shutout innings against the Rangers but was removed from the game heading into the sixth after experiencing visible discomfort in the dugout. At the time, he reassured reporters that he was confident he'd be able to make his next start, but although he received imaging, played catch on the field, and pitched a bullpen session, he did indeed miss his next start.

However, Flaherty is expected to return on Saturday in Game 2 of 4 against the Astros in Houston. He'll be facing former Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who's been struggling this season since he started on the 15-day with injury-related problems of his own.

Flaherty's Saturday start is reportedly being made possible by an injection to treat the pain in his lower back, received on Monday. It's good news that he'll be able to get around a trip to the IL, but what seems like a temporary fix might not bode well long-term, especially if the Tigers are really looking to shop him at the trade deadline.

Jack Flaherty will return for the Tigers on Saturday, but his injury could change Detroit's plans for the trade deadline

Jared Ramsey of The Detroit Free Press confirmed earlier this week that the Tigers were open to offers on Flaherty, who carries a 3.22 ERA over 72 2/3 innings in what's been a great bounce back season for him so far. It makes sense that, at the very least, the Tigers are willing to listen, as they've had a far more disappointing season than anyone expected and are sitting below .500. They are still in the fight for a Wild Card spot, though, and getting a few bats in exchange for Flaherty could help them make a push in the season half of the season.

However, if the injection is a temporary fix rather than a long-term one, how sustainable might he be through the rest of the season? Interested teams could hesitate on him or devalue him and send an underwhelming trade package by citing the injury. If Flaherty can get through the start without any major hiccups and the issue rights itself without needing some kind of aid, the Tigers should be in the clear. If not, it could interfere with their biggest trade chip of the year.