Whether you like it or not, the Detroit Tigers rebuild has officially begun and it is safe to say that things could get very ugly, at least in terms of wins and losses, before they get better.
Prior to the Major League Baseball trade deadline, Tigers general manager Al Avila dealt Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, and Justin Upton, just to name a few, in return for prospects. Heck, Avila even traded his own son, Alex Avila, in order to acquire pieces for the future.
But, according to Lynn Henning of The Detroit News, the Tigers are likely not finished making deals and one of the names he mentioned as a potential trade candidate will probably surprise you.
Henning recently tweeted out that second baseman Ian Kinsler is “expected to be dealt,” but that should not come as a shocker to anyone who has been following along. What is surprising is what Henning wrote on Thursday.
From The Detroit News:
“Starting catcher James McCann is a player the Tigers would consider moving for a fair return when the Tigers believe they can survive 2018 with a combination of John Hicks and Bryan Holaday. Losing 100 games is possible during 2018 when an early rebuilding phase figures to hit the Tigers hardest. McCann’s trade value could be such that Avila would bite when minor-league catching is an organizational strength and could begin to arrive as soon as the 2019 season.”
This statement by Henning, who claims to have had conversations with a source close to the situation, is very interesting.
James McCann, who is only 27, has been pegged by most as the Tigers “catcher of the future” for some time now, so trading him could seem counterproductive. That being said, he has not been a great hitter, but he has not been bad either (.253 with 13 home runs in 2017). Defensively speaking, he actually regressed in this past season. In fact, when it came to throwing out runners in 2017, McCann only threw out 30%, which is a big step back from when he threw out 45% in 2016 and 40% in 2015.
As Henning notes, for Avila to deal McCann, the return would have to be one that would bring a solid return.
Is it likely that McCann will be playing elsewhere in 2018? Probably not. But the fact that he is even being mentioned as a potential trade chip just goes to show that the Tigers are not interested in a partial rebuild. They seem content with what will be a couple of really tough seasons with a goal of winning World Series Championships in the future.