As is to be expected given their current situation moving forward, the Detroit Tigers are clearly sellers this week at the baseball Winter Meetings down in Orlando.
Nothing monumental has really percolated over the previous two days but the Tigers have a number of players that they have reportedly been fielding calls on since arriving; or in some players’ cases, since last year.
In fact, there are three names that the Tigers are dangling out there that we need to keep an eye on:
IAN KINSLER | 2B
The trade rumors around second baseman Ian Kinsler effectively began this time last year when team general manager Al Avila hinted at potentially tearing things down and started over. Those talks did not continue until late into the 2017 season when the Tigers were virtually out of any playoff contention.
Since the non-waiver trade deadline, however, talks around Kinsler have really picked up again. The 35-year-old is signed through the 2018 season and slated to make $11 million, considerable cheap by baseball standards these days. It was definitely a struggle offensively for Kinsler but many around the industry that was a rather fluky year, and the defense remains Gold Glove-caliber in the field.
Since the season ended, there’s been two teams linked to Kinsler more than any other club, both with a clear hole at the second base position.
Keep your eye on Ian Kinsler for Mets. Still lots of options but they've gotten pretty deep in talks there even before meetings
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 13, 2017
Angels remain in on Kinsler
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2017
The Mets reportedly checked in on Kinsler before these Winter Meetings, while the Angels were reportedly one of multiple teams to put in a claim for Kinsler back in August when he was placed on waivers.
Among the three names that will be on this list, Kinsler is the one most likely to be dealt.
MICHAEL FULMER | SP
Young stud Michael Fulmer is definitely garnering plenty of interesting from contending clubs this week. But unlike Ian Kinsler, the Tigers are not “actively shopping” the former AL Rookie of the Year, rather just taking calls to see what is out there.
Fulmer this past season followed up his outstanding rookie campaign, in which he compiled a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts, by turning in a 3.83 ERA in 25 outings. Some of that was elevated in the second half due to some injury concerns, before he had to be shut down for the remainder of the season and require surgery. The assumption has been that Fulmer should be ready to go come spring camp, until anyone hears otherwise.
Reportedly, not many teams have been looking at Fulmer but one team really stands out above the rest right now.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 12, 2017
Looks like the Yankees are back to being the evil empire of Major League Baseball. It’d be very disappointing for Tigers fans to see a budding superstar pitcher like Fulmer being traded away, one less thing for fans to look forward to in 2018. But from a business aspect, if the Yankees or any club approaches Detroit with a incredible offer, it’ll be hard to say no.
Here’s what makes Fulmer an extremely attractive piece for other teams, aside from the obvious talent: a) he won’t turn 25 until March, b) he has five more years of team control, and c) he’s dirt cheap from a payroll standpoint, unless said team offered him a big extension.
Some other teams who have been linked in some capacity to Fulmer early on: the Rangers and the Braves. The latter, in particular, sort of made it known back in August that they had plans of pursuing Fulmer this offseason.
SHANE GREENE | RP
Here is another one where the Tigers are not actively shopping the player but know that he could be of better value to other clubs, if the return package makes sense.
Reliever Shane Greene really found his niche as a bullpen arm. He initially started off as just a bridge man late in games but following the release of then closer Francisco Rodriguez and then the trade of reliever Justin Wilson to the Cubs, Greene because the unquestioned man for the Tigers in save situations.
Greene dabbled in relief pitching back in 2016 and had some small pockets of success but he really broke out in full-time relief duty this past season, registering a 2.66 ERA and career-bests 1.24 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 in 71 appearances.
Right now, it does not appear anything has gained much traction regarding potential deals surrounding Shane.
Tigers closer Shane Greene has also generated some trade interest, Al Avila confirmed, "but not to the point where we felt it was a good thing to do."
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 12, 2017
Those are numbers that will surely grab the attention of many contending teams in need of bolstering their bullpen, which as become a major emphasis in recent years. Much like Fulmer, Greene is rather affordable and controllable, he’s entering his first of three arbitration stages this offseason and won’t be a free agent until after 2020.