Tigers rumors: Tarik Skubal buzz definitely going to take over deadline discourse

Would Detroit actually entertain trading their ace at the trade deadline? The answer isn't so simple.
Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros
Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros / Jack Gorman/GettyImages

Tarik Skubal has easily been the best thing about a Tigers team that's struggled much more significantly than anyone had hoped going into the season. After the Tigers finished second in the AL Central last year, recovered some young players from the IL, and added some very necessary pitching depth, the most optimistic of fans and journalists predicted that these Tigers could be the ones to finally break the postseason dry spell.

Things haven't exactly turned out that way, though. Over 70 games into the season, the Tigers are 34-37 and fourth in the division, six games behind the Twins running in third. Despite a promising start (they hung onto a winning or even record until mid-May), they've slowly slipped and their odds of making the postseason seem to be thinning.

It poses a lot of questions for the Tigers at the trade deadline. It's already been reported that they're open to trading Jack Flaherty, in the midst of a great bounce back year, but with their unwillingness to buy expensive free agents during the offseason at the expense of young players, could they be willing to sacrifice those players now?

Skubal has pitched 86 innings this year and is sitting at a 2.20 ERA, by far the best of the Tigers' starters and fourth-best of AL starters (seventh in all of baseball). He could potentially be an incredibly powerful trade piece, but is it the right time to let him go?

Could the Tigers be open to trading ace Tarik Skubal at the deadline?

MLB insider Jon Morosi appeared on 97.1 The Ticket to talk about the team's odds of trading Skubal. He acknowledged that they were almost certainly going to get calls, but it doesn't seem like the right time for them to let him walk. Skubal has two years of team control left after the 2024 season, so any decision on Skubal is going to impact the Tigers' plans for the next couple of seasons and not just this one.

Trading Skubal, who has a very good argument to win the AL Cy Young even if the Tigers don't finish the season with a winning record, would basically be the Tigers waving a white flag on the rest of the season and potentially the next one or two as well. That very well could be the route the front office wants to go by the deadline, but it would undoubtedly provoke the widespread ire of fans, who have been having to hear "maybe next year" for too long now.

If the Tigers do trade Skubal, the package had better be unbelievable. Detroit shouldn't settle just for a fresh crop of prospects to keep in the tank, lest they want to run the risk of completely isolating their fanbase.