Inside the Article:
The Detroit Tigers are sellers, there's no doubt. They are a mere 11-11 in July and since the All-Star break, which started promising, have come back down to Earth. Not to mention the absolute drubbing they took at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels, a borderline playoff team, which really puts into perspective just what this 2023 Tigers club really is: better than 2022 but nowhere near contention, regardless of the lies the standings tell.
Why it matters
2023 was always an evaluative year for Scott Harris and his first season on the job. A massive job awaited him where he had to completely remake a broken roster from top to bottom. He did so by making massive amounts of waiver claims and small trades, without signing anyone of significance. Those he did sign were signed with the intent of flipping at the deadline, a la Michael Lorenzen. And here we stand at the deadline ready to flip Michael Lorenzen. However, with a couple of smart moves, including moving the four expiring deals we have, 2024 could be an interesting year in Motown baseball. One like we haven't seen in a while.
3 Trades that can set the Tigers up for success in 2024
The trade market has already begun to heat up a bit with the news of the Angels going “all-in” trying to woo the unicorn, Shohei Ohtani, and acquiring Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Then news broke last night of the Miami Marlins acquiring David Robertson from the incredibly underwhelming, and overly expensive New York Mets. These can help to set the baseline for some of our thoughts on the trade market too.
Eduardo Rodriguez to the Cincinnati Reds
With Giolito off the board and Dylan Cease seemingly going nowhere, there's really one starter left for the Reds to trade for, Eduardo Rodriguez. They could go for a rental like Michael Lorenzen, but that opt-out (or opt-in?) could help the cause here. The Tigers could pitch in some money to pay down the contract should Rodriguez opt in, which would help them land a better prospect. The ask should start at Christian Encarnacion-Strand, which seems like a tall ask but isn't out of the realm of possibility. He's seemingly blocked in Cincy, especially if they don't move on from Jonathan India and this would be a nice 1:1 swap that would benefit both clubs. Should they balk at that, Cam Collier, would be a nice piece to settle for.
The Reds starting pitching is their weakest link and adding a veteran piece to their rotation for the playoff push, without (or with) long-term commitment maybe just what the doctor ordered for the upstart Reds.
Michael Lorenzen and Akil Baddoo to the Baltimore Orioles
This may seem like a strange package but the Orioles currently have no lefthanders on their bench and both of their normal center fielders are on the injured list. Baddoo's inclusion in the deal could help the Orioles as they continue to press toward an AL East crown. The real need is for Lorenzen, however, since their starting pitching ranks worse than even the Tigers in all of baseball. Discussions should include Connor Norby (2B/OF), Ryan Watson (RHP), and potentially Carter Young (SS). The Tigers could also include Jose Cisnerno or Chasen Shreve though the Baltimore bullpen is stout.
Jason Foley and Alex Faedo to the Texas Rangers
This one hurts a bit, but in setting the team up for success in 2024 means parting with pieces that can hurt a bit. Foley has been this season and the Rangers need a bit of bullpen and rotation help. Foley and Faedo each have controllable years which can make the Tigers asking price a bit higher. No, Evan Carter isn't part of that discussion. But, the starting point is Justin Fosccue (2B/3B) and they can tack on a couple of other prospects as well. Also, keeping the triplets of Mize, Skubal, and Manning together is a decent starting point for a rotation in 2024.
The bottom line
The Detroit Tigers are in a primed position to fix a very broken roster, not completely, but close. We've long complained about the MLB product and what better way to usher in 2024 than an exciting, young team? This has to be the goal over the next few days as trades and rumors are thrown every which way. The ball is in Scott Harris's court, let's hope he throws down some slam dunks.