Detroit Tigers Trade Deadline: Selling Should be a Consideration


Selling off a player or two at the trade deadline might be what’s best for the long-term health of the Detroit Tigers.

The Detroit Tigers, who stand two games above .500 and 5.5 games out of the division lead, are widely thought to be buyers as we approach the July 31 (non-waiver) trade deadline. This makes sense given owner Mike Ilitch’s stated desire to hoist a World Series trophy and the team’s aging roster but it might not be whats best for the long-term health of the franchise.

Selling off a piece or three at the trade deadline this year could aid in avoiding a longer rebuilding project down the line while not entirely killing off any dreams of an immediate run.

The Tigers have been going “all-in” in pursuit of a championship ring for nearly a decade now. That pursuit has paid off in a lot of ways: we gotten to witness the greatness that is Miguel Cabrera, we’ve been treated to four consecutive division titles, and we’ve seen the team make several deep runs in October. The elusive world championship is still missing from the equation, but, even so, the Tigers are in the midst of one of the most successful runs in team history.

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It would be fun to see this run continue into the distant future.

Mike Ilitch, Dave Dombrowski, and the rest of the front office face a decision as we head into the month of July: push the remaining few trade assets into the middle of the table and bet big on a 2015 second half run, or try to play the part of shrewd market investor and try to cash in some potential short-term games for the hope of a longer-term payoff.

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Current projected standings have the Tigers finishing three or four games behind the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central and two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot.

Those are certainly close enough races that the Tigers could claim either prize by simply catching a random hot streak, but they’re not so close that even a major acquisition would guarantee a postseason berth. Even another player of David Price‘s caliber — someone projected to be worth about 2.5 wins above replacement the rest of the year — wouldn’t necessarily put the team over the top.

The other side of that coin is that trading away a couple of pieces — say Alfredo Simon and Joakim Soria — wouldn’t guarantee a doomed end to the season. According to the Steamer Projections, those two pitchers are only expected to add one half of a win above replacement combined for the rest of the year.

Neither player would be likely to return a top-tier prospect in a trade, but either could be seen as being somewhat in-demand for other teams in contention. Depending on the potential offers they’d receive, even a modest prospect package return could help stave off the potential payroll doomsday that is seemingly lurking on the 2017 horizon.

It cost the Tigers Jake Thompson, Corey Knebel, Jonathon Crawford, and Eugenio Suarez to acquire Soria and Simon over the last year. It would be worthwhile if they could recoup even half of that value. Perhaps nothing of value would develop — again, it depends what the demand would be for either or both players — but Dave Dombrowski should make it know that he’s willing to entertain offers.

If I were Dombrowski, I’d even be willing to take calls on fellow impending free agents David Price and Yoenis Cespedes. Trades involving either of those two players would have obviously larger ramifications, but neither will bring any value to the club beyond the present season. If the Tigers could set themselves up for another long-term run (instead of slow death by poor finances), it might be worth the short-term cost.

Next: Tigers Won the Cespedes for Porcello Trade

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