The Detroit Tigers are four games under .500, and could be five by the time this is published. The Tigers are still within five games of a playoff spot and have had a successful run from 2011-2014. Now it’s probably their time to sell. The Royals seem to have the division in hand, and they’re sacrificing their future to go all in for a 2015 World Series. They traded five really good prospects for two players that they will probably only have for two months plus the playoffs. The Royals also have a small payroll, one that can’t increase the way the Tigers can, so they almost seem like they might not come back as strong in future seasons. The Tigers will have a hard time making the playoffs at this point, as their probability according to Baseball Prospectus is at around 12% and has been dropping. The Tigers have a good core and have had all-star performances from many players, but they lack pitching.
The Tigers have been likened to the Phillies many times, but that card is overplayed. Miguel Cabrera is a hundred times the hitter that Ryan Howard is, and the Phillies core of Utley/Rollins/Howard aged whereas the Tigers have a core of Miggy and V-Mart who are aging, but better hitters than anyone in the Phillies core. The Tigers also have a good young core group of players that includes JD Martinez, Nick Castellanos, James McCann, Anthony Gose, and Jose Iglesias. The Tigers have Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander too, both guys had really bad starts to their respective years but both have bounced back, and if the Tigers add some young pitching around them, they can contend and won’t even come close to what the Phillies are going through.
The Tigers have many pieces that could be traded. David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, Rajai Davis, and Joakim Soria could bring back a haul. The Tigers need to hold out until the 31st for the best deal on these guys and there’s no doubt in my mind that they can get a good deal for Price and Cespedes. The kicker is, that according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Yoenis Cespedes wants to come back to Detroit even if he is traded. So you could essentially loan out Yoenis to a team for two months in exchange for some young talent, preferably a young starter under team control, and then pay Yoenis and bring him back in the offseason. Another plus of trading Yoenis for two months is that you can really see what you have in Steven Moya, a guy who could be great or might just be a bust. If Moya is good you can keep him or trade him for something this offseason, and if not you just bring Cespedes back. Soria and Rajai have less value but the Tigers could get a useful bullpen arm and some mid range prospects if you combine the two.
The big domino is David Price. The Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Yankees are all interested. The Yankees have prospects like Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, and Rookie Davis that the Tigers could be interested in. The Dodgers could possibly give up one of Urias or Seager, but that’s doubtful, in fact it’d be more likely they give up a guy like Yasiel Puig. There other prospects the Tigers may like, including pitchers Grant Holmes or Jose DeLeon. My personal favorite is the Blue Jays, who have Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez. On top of that there’s pitcher Sean Reid-Foley, catcher Max Pentecost, outfielders DJ Davis, Anthony Alford and Dalton Pompey, or middle infielder Richard Urena. If the Tigers could get Norris, Reid-Foley, and one of the position players from Toronto, a team that needs an ace to compliment their offense, they would make out well.
The Tigers are definitely a talented group, but they’re missing some pieces, they just need some close to major league-ready talent and they could also stock a couple of future pieces too. If they sell for 2015, they’re really buying for 2016. Don’t forget that they could get some starters off the deep free agent market for 2016 too. This Tigers squad reminds me of the 2010 one. Tons of talent, but too many holes. Trading the pieces they have that are free agents after this year gives them a better shot at a World Series, just a shot that’s on a half season delay.