After the signing of Jack Flaherty, the Detroit Tigers now have a surplus of starting pitching. It's far from the worst thing in the world, since pitchers often get hurt — just ask Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, or Flaherty himself.
But Tigers still have a massive hole at third base. Matt Vierling is not the answer. They can't go into spring training with no dedicated third baseman two years in a row. That's roster-building malpractice.
Even if they don't find an upgrade at third base, they still need another bat for the lineup. They can't rely on just Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter to provide some thump, especially with Riley Greene not at 100%.
They aren't going to find anything in free agency, as we've discussed at length. So we have to look at the trade market. With said surplus of starting pitching, it would make sense to trade from said surplus to acquired another hitter.
Scott Harris said earlier this week that there are currently no plans to trade one of the Tigers' starters. but things can always change. He did say that they will still listen if teams call. So what pitcher should be traded?
Well, like I've said all offseason, Matt Manning makes the most sense. He's young and has three years of team control left. He has quite the injury history himself, and hasn't been very consistent when healthy, but if there's one thing that always has value, it's young, controllable starting pitching.
So today, we're going to go through some Matt Manning trade proposals to see what a trade involving the former first-round pick could look like. All of these proposals will involve teams that have a need for starting pitching.
This intro has been longer than usual, so we're going to cut it here and hop right into it. Here's four Matt Manning trade proposals
Proposal 1: Manning to Baltimore
The Orioles have a budding young roster that won 101 game in 2023. They did it without a ton of starting pitching depth, and that lack of depth got exposed in the playoffs against the Texas Rangers.
Since they are owned by the Angelos family, you know they aren't going to spend to get a big name starter to come to Baltimore. So GM Mike Elias is going to have to get creative if he wants to upgrade the rotation.
Luckily for him — and for the Tigers — the Orioles have a loaded farm system to trade from. They could acquire virtually anybody they want with the right pieces. With Manning being young and affordable, it seems we have a fit here. Let's a make a deal, shall we?
Shoutout to MCB contributor and Tigers Minor League Report Co-Owner Rogelio Castillo, who's been on the Joey Ortiz train for a while. He's currently blocked by the likes of Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, and even No. 1 overall prospect Jackson Holliday.
Ortiz is a great prospect in his own right. He has a history of limiting the strikeouts, as well as hitting for a ton of contact. He got a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2023, and it wasn't pretty, but it's hard to make any conclusions off of 34 plate appearances.
Pham is a nice little pitching prospect. He has a high-strikeout, high-walk guy until he was promoted to Double-A in 2023, where the strikouts went down, but so did the walks. He had a 2.57 ERA between High-A and Double-A this past year.
The Tigers get an infielder that can play in the big leagues right away, and the Orioles get a young, controllable starter. This seems like a good fit for both teams.