The Detroit Tigers are roughly 30 games into their 2019 season and despite low expectations, they have managed to hover around the .500 mark and within striking distance of the final American League Wild Card position.
One of the biggest bright spots for the Tigers so far this season has been starting pitcher, Matthew Boyd.
Through his first six games, Boyd is 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 37.1 innings of work. During that time, he has struck out 48 batters (11.6 K/9) while walking 10.
Because of his early season performance, Boyd’s name is one which has already begun to be mentioned as a potential trade deadline target for teams in contention.
The question is, are the Tigers willing to trade a 28-year-old pitcher who is having his best season as a professional?
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, sources have indicated to him that the Tigers are certainly willing to deal Boyd and they are looking for an up and coming hitter in return.
From The Athletic (pay site):
Would the Tigers trade Matthew Boyd? Of course they would — but preferably for a specific target, according to major-league sources: A premium young hitter who would complement the young pitchers rising through their system.
Boyd, 28, is emerging as one of the game’s better left-handers, producing a 3.13 ERA in his first six starts, with underlying numbers suggesting that figure should be even lower. His trade value, if he continues to pitch well, should be quite high, as he is earning a relatively modest $2.6 million this season, and will remain under team control for three more years through salary arbitration.
Rosenthal notes the Tigers’ current strength in their minor league system is pitching and that hitting is something that needs to be improved
The Tigers’ top three prospects and six of their top 11 are pitchers, according to MLBPipeline.com. Right-hander Franklin Perez, the prize of the Justin Verlander trade, pitched only 19 1/3 innings last season due to lat and shoulder issues and has yet to pitch this season due to shoulder tendinitis. But righty Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, threw a no-hitter in his debut at Double A on Monday night. Another former first rounder at Double A, righty Matt Manning, also is a top 50 prospect.
What the Tigers lack are offensive prospects of similar pedigree. Such players do get traded on occasion; the Padres landed Fernando Tatís Jr. for James Shields and the White Sox acquired Eloy Jiménez for José Quintana. And, for a pitcher with the same amount of remaining control as Boyd, right-hander Chris Archer, the Rays last season obtained outfielder Austin Meadows, righty Tyler Glasnow and top pitching prospect Shane Baz.