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2016 Trade Deadline Thread

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We are less than 3 weeks out. When should the Tigers make a decision about their strategy? And what should it be, Buy, sell, or hold?

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http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=29748

 

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The Tigers have to go for it, this year. There’s really no debate here. The aging core of Miguel Cabrera (33 years old, .310 TAv, 2.0 WARP), Justin Verlander (33, 87 cFIP, 2.82 DRA, 3.4 WARP), Victor Martinez (37, .305, 1.3), and Ian Kinsler (34, .303, 2.6) will never be this productive again—even if you figure it’s actuarially unlikely that they’ll sustain their current levels for even the rest of this year. Nick Castellanos (24, .301, 2.1) is having a great season, and maybe it’s the beginning of his emergence into the star slugger the Tigers envisioned years ago—he’s still young. Then again, maybe it’s the juiced ball, or maybe he’s just run into a few balls and generated a transformed batting line that belies relatively unchanged underlying skills. (He still strikes out a lot, and still doesn’t walk very much, for instance.)

Cameron Maybin is having an insane season, riding a carriage that could turn back into a pumpkin almost anytime, but which gives the Tigers a legitimate, well-rounded offense for as long as it lasts. Justin Upton has slowly come around (.246/.319/.434 since June 1), and J.D. Martinez will be back before the end of July (you know, maybe). Wonder of wonders, the Tigers have a competent bullpen right now. Francisco Rodriguez has brought stability to the closer’s role, and working backward from there, Alex and Justin Wilson, Kyle Ryan, and the somehow-only-25-year-old Bruce Rondon have done decent work in piecing together the rest.

Most importantly, despite losing their 11th game in 11 tries against the division-leading Indians Tuesday night, the Tigers remain right in the thick of the playoff hunt. This is an old team with a woefully thin farm system and a dubious future—one that will probably involve a painful rebound, sooner or later. The Yankees have been in a similar position for a couple years. The Phillies were in something like this position in 2012 or 2013. It’s not an unfamiliar story.

Whereas most teams in similar predicaments have gotten to this point of the season with only a flickering or distant hope of making the playoffs, though, Detroit has a real opportunity. The Indians’ 14-game winning streak has them looking almost uncatchable, and if the Tigers can’t start beating their chief divisional rivals, then that will be true. Realistically, though, the gap between these two teams isn’t as great as the 7.5-game separation in the standings suggests. The Tigers are a better team at the plate, though the Indians are more athletic and better with the gloves. The big difference, the overwhelming difference, really, is in the Indians’ superior starting rotation, and the Tigers’ awful one. Only three teams have made fewer quality starts this season than Tigers pitchers, and Jordan Zimmermann just hit the DL with a neck strain. There’s no reason the Tigers can’t seriously compete in the Central, given the way their key veterans are playing this year, but in order to do so, they need to improve that rotation.

For the record, here’s the rotation as it stands right now:

1. Verlander, 87 cFIP, 2.82 DRA, 3.4 WARP

2. Michael Fulmer, 83 cFIP, 2.98 DRA, 2.0 WARP

3. Mike Pelfrey, 122 cFIP, 7.57 DRA, -2.4 WARP

4. Anibal Sanchez, 123 cFIP, 5.89 DRA, -0.5 WARP

5. Ugh, maybe Matt Boyd? Or Shane Greene? Ugh.

Daniel Norris’s early returns were really reassuring, not to mention inspiring (remember, he underwent surgery to rid him of thyroid cancer back in late October). Like Zimmermann, though, he recently landed on the DL, having strained his right oblique. If the Tigers want to make a serious run at the Indians, they need not only to eventually get those two hurlers back, but add someone else, a durable, quality starter who can eat some innings late in the season (allowing the Tigers to ease off the gas with regard to both Fulmer and Norris) and give the team a legitimate chance to win every fifth day.

There won’t be that many such pitchers available, of course. Some of those who might be talked about—pitchers with several remaining years of team control, or who are signed to team-friendly extensions, guys like Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Julio Teheran, or any of the Rays’ four main starters—are simply beyond the reach of the Tigers, with that over-harvested field of a farm system. There are some more realistic options, though. Rich Hill might be the subject of a bidding war, but he’s just coming back from a groin strain, is old, and will be a free agent at the end of the season. Jeremy Hellickson is neither old nor afflicted by groin trouble (that we know of), but he’ll be a free agent this winter, too, which should both keep the price tag under control (despite Hellickson’s career-best 99 cFIP and solid 3.89 DRA) and motivate the pitcher to advocate for a trade.

A team this leveraged is usually well advised to try to balance things out, play for the future where possible, and focus on sustainability. Not these Tigers. Cabrera, Verlander, Martinez, Kinsler, Martinez, Upton, Castellanos, Zimmermann, Fulmer, and Norris is a good top 10 for a 25-man roster, at least for the rest of 2016. Detroit GM Al Avila needs to beef up the few spots below that, even if it means letting go of a prospect like breakout slugger Christin Stewart, or future closer Joe Jimenez. If he can do it, the Tigers have a chance to defy expectations, and win one or two more meaningful things before their window closes and the pain really starts. Few teams should be more aggressive than this one this July.

 

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Well last year they waited until about 2 or 3 days left. I don't think they'll wait that long this year but I don't expect any big moves, selling or buying.  

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The Tigers will wait until the last couple days to make any trades. But they won't be sellers because everyone they could potentially sell is an asset for next year, too.

The only possibility would be victor or JD, if they think Moya could step into their spot.

I guess you could make an argument for selling Iglesias if they think machado could be something, but I doubt that.

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4 minutes ago, Shelton said:

The Tigers will wait until the last couple days to make any trades. But they won't be sellers because everyone they could potentially sell is an asset for next year, too.

The only possibility would be victor or JD, if they think Moya could step into their spot.

I guess you could make an argument for selling Iglesias if they think machado could be something, but I doubt that.

I agree.  There is no reason to do any big selling.  They will come back with essentially the same offense next year and try again to fix their pitching.  They will hope that Zimmermann and Norris do better and tinker with the bullpen.  

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Ideally, Znn and Norris come back soonish and pitch well. They win some games and when JD comes back you can deal Moya.

The most impactful trade I think they could make is probably Moya + McCann + ??? for Lucroy.

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1 minute ago, roarintiger1 said:

I haven't looked it up, but are there any Tigers that will be free agents at the end of the year?

Maybin and KRod have team friendly team options.

Basically, no.

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Just now, Who is the Drizzle? said:

Maybin and KRod have team friendly team options.

Basically, no.

No player then is likely to be traded because of looming free agency.     I highly doubt that the Tigers do much at all at the deadline.  However, if they are still close to the wildcard, I could see them taking a chance on another starting pitcher.  Who?  I have no idea.

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In 2010 when they were going nowhere DD stole peralta from Cleveland. He was an integral piece for next few seasons. If they can find a deal like that go for it. I have no problem trading Iglesias if it's a baseball trade.

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Here's some 2016 stats on an arbitrary list of Tigers prospects who at least have some pedigree and haven't fallen on their face yet. If we buy these will be some of the guys teams ask for.

Batters

Pitchers

Random Notes:

Gerber has come on real strong after a slow start. Not going to do the math but his OPS is pretty close to 1.000, if not over since June 1.

Azocar is a young kid in WMI that plays great OF defense. Him and Derek Hill are probably a good of a defensive combo that you can have on 1 team.

Turnbull had a great season last year in WMI and has just started pitching again after some sort of injury.

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5 hours ago, roarintiger1 said:

No player then is likely to be traded because of looming free agency.     I highly doubt that the Tigers do much at all at the deadline.  However, if they are still close to the wildcard, I could see them taking a chance on another starting pitcher.  Who?  I have no idea.

I could see someone like Hellickson or De La Rosa just to stabilize the rotation a bit, even if they might not be great-- on the same hand shouldn't cost us a ton as both are free agents. 

Saltalamacchia is an interesting case. Do we try to move him for a jones type prospect given the fact he's a free agent, has had some big hits, but overall has been fairly useless and then get a Wilson again for the rest of the year. 

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13 hours ago, kdog said:

In 2010 when they were going nowhere DD stole peralta from Cleveland. He was an integral piece for next few seasons. If they can find a deal like that go for it. I have no problem trading Iglesias if it's a baseball trade.

I agree with the first part.  Texas added Cole Hamels last year when they were floundering and it helped them mightily.  We need to keep the line moving.  If they could add pieces even if they were out of contention so long as they were significant pieces for future championship runs....yes...do that. 

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Zimmerman and Norris are key to the Tigers. If both don't comeback and stabilize the rotation, the Tigers have no chance at the playoffs. There is nothing the Tigers have to offer to land an impact starter. I think more than likely the Tigers trade a couple mid-rated prospects for Bullpen help.

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Zimmerman and Norris are key to the Tigers. If both don't comeback and stabilize the rotation, the Tigers have no chance at the playoffs. There is nothing the Tigers have to offer to land an impact starter. I think more than likely the Tigers trade a couple mid-rated prospects for Bullpen help.

I don't necessarily think both have to, but it would be nice if they did.

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20 hours ago, Who is the Drizzle? said:

Ideally, Znn and Norris come back soonish and pitch well. They win some games and when JD comes back you can deal Moya.

The most impactful trade I think they could make is probably Moya + McCann + ??? for Lucroy.

I'd love to get Lucroy, but the "+" in this scenario is a very high level prospect

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I think a bullpen piece makes some sense and agree that we are pretty much dependent on Zimmerman and Norris improvement down the stretch. If they want to add an innings chewing starter who doesn't cost too much that's fine too. 

Basically, I prefer to keep Jones,Burrows,Jimenez,Stewart and anyone on the major league roster. Other than that, anyone can go

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6 minutes ago, Nastradamus said:

I think a bullpen piece makes some sense and agree that we are pretty much dependent on Zimmerman and Norris improvement down the stretch. If they want to add an innings chewing starter who doesn't cost too much that's fine too. 

Basically, I prefer to keep Jones,Burrows,Jimenez,Stewart and anyone on the major league roster. Other than that, anyone can go

If you get a good player that's more than a rental, I'd be willing to deal Rondon, Boyd, McCann. It'd definitely have to be the right deal. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over Jones or Burrows if the return was good.

I'd deal any prospect if the return was good enough, like a Teheran. Obviously one of those pipe-dream scenarios that we almost assuredly don't have to consider tho.

And obviously it'd be at the deadline only if it looked like we are doing something with this season.

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34 minutes ago, Who is the Drizzle? said:

If you get a good player that's more than a rental, I'd be willing to deal Rondon, Boyd, McCann. It'd definitely have to be the right deal. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over Jones or Burrows if the return was good.

I'd deal any prospect if the return was good enough, like a Teheran. Obviously one of those pipe-dream scenarios that we almost assuredly don't have to consider tho.

And obviously it'd be at the deadline only if it looked like we are doing something with this season.

Same here, but I assume we don't have the ammo for top guys and I don't want to give up our best guys for rental or to add large salary without adding a true stud. 

I did say I prefer to keep them, not that they're untouchable. 

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6 minutes ago, Nastradamus said:

Same here, but I assume we don't have the ammo for top guys and I don't want to give up our best guys for rental or to add large salary without adding a true stud. 

I did say I prefer to keep them, not that they're untouchable. 

AA doesn't seem like the DD type with trades, but if we could get Lucroy without dealing Stewart or Jimenez, I think that'd be great. Burrows/Moya/McCann or something like that could be a nice package, depending on what MIL thinks of those guys. He's cheap next year and in theory you add a #1 pick if you don't sign him after that.

But I don't have a strong sense of how our prospects are seen generally, outside of Stewart and Jimenez who are well liked.

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If there is a way to get value for Moya, I would love to do it now. THat's for sure. Same on Mccann for that matter. 

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What playoff contender needs a power-hitting bench guy more than we do? 

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I cannot image McCann has much trade value given something like 75% of AB come against RHP.

His career OPS against RHP is 0.564 and it has dropped this year (his OPS against RHP in 2016 is .428(!!!)).

He is a back-up catcher.  Nothing more.

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9 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

I cannot image McCann has much trade value given something like 75% of AB come against RHP.

His career OPS against RHP is 0.564 and it has dropped this year (his OPS against RHP in 2016 is .428(!!!)).

He is a back-up catcher.  Nothing more.

236/362/358 wouldn't  seem so bad now.

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