Tarik Skubal trade deadline dilemma once again worrying Tigers fans

Philadelphia Phillies v Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies v Detroit Tigers / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

It's trade deadline season, and the vultures are starting to circle. The Tigers definitely didn't come into the season wanting or maybe even expecting to be sellers at the deadline, but it looks like that's the way they're headed as their chances of grabbing the last Wild Card spot continue to dwindle.

Jack Flaherty has been a prime candidate; he's only on a one-year deal with the Tigers and he's upped his trade value significantly this season with his 2.92 ERA and 108 strikeouts. He's been good for Detroit but isn't necessarily a player fans would riot over if he left.

Tarik Skubal is another story entirely. He's just barely trailing behind Seth Lugo for the second-best ERA in the AL, has the second-best WHIP in the league behind Logan Gilbert, and has the third-most strikeouts behind Garrett Crochet and Cole Ragans. He has the real potential to be the Tigers' first Cy Young winner since Max Scherzer in 2013.

Skubal should be untouchable, but the vultures are ruthless. Jim Bowden of The Athletic spoke to multiple MLB executives, a couple of whom identified Skubal as a player that could be moved at the deadline (subscription required). Tigers fans, get your pitchforks ready.

MLB executives identify Tarik Skubal as a potential trade candidate if the price is high enough for Tigers

Bowden specifically identified the Orioles and Dodgers are potential suitors in a trade for Skubal, who also still has two years of team control left, but noted that any team would have to make an offer so good it would be impossible for the Tigers to turn down. Said offers would inevitably have to include "significant prospects" which, very unfortunately, both the Orioles and Dodgers (especially the Orioles) have in abundance.

There is always the possibility that Skubal's value is so high that Detroit's asking price for him would be far too high for any team to meet, but the Dodgers have already made overtures toward the White Sox's Crochet and Luis Robert Jr., who they would also have to give up a lot for, so they seem prepared to gut their system a little if it'll get them deep into the postseason.

The fact that Detroit is even listening on Skubal at all is incredibly disheartening, and it'd be just another knife to Tigers fans if they had to watch him win a Cy Young with another team. Unfortunately, with the outlook on the rest of the season suggesting that this team won't even be able to break third place in the division, much less compete in the postseason, it wouldn't be altogether surprising if we have to watch him walk in July.