Rarely will one find Detroit Tigers executives calling potential suitors to offload salary. In fact, Detroit usually remains vigilant in stocking arms, bats, and relievers during July and August. Not this year, Tigers fans. Justin Verlander is flopping, Miggy is ailing, and the Tigers of old simply don’t have enough oomph to carry dead weight into another postseason, as they’ve done in years past. We’re already aware Price and Cespedes are available and will draw mass attention, but what else should Tigers fans expect as the 2015 season officially hit an iceberg?
Hitting Scenario Will Change
When you’re leading MLB in batting average and OBP, yet still trailing divisional foes, there’s an issue. Detroit Tigers of old both got on base and scored, which hasn’t been the case in 2015. Victor Martinez hasn’t produced due to injury, Miguel Cabrera is injured, and too many Tigers players are north of 32-years-old. Expect call-ups and shifts in player time as Detroit heads into an era where Kansas City — once a perennial basement-dwelling team — is now king.
Cespedes Won’t Net Much. They’ll Work With Him.
Honestly, he’s 29-years-old, and began baseball much later than most Cubans. Oakland inflated his value, and he’s never really produced offensive numbers his former two teams expected. Outfield help isn’t heavily demanded this trade deadline, except maybe in Los Angeles. I’d look for Detroit to work with him another season before offloading his hefty salary in free agency, even though they’re preparing a fire sale.
They’ll Unload Kinsler, Too.
Or at least Detroit Tigers execs will seriously entertain the notion. He’s on pace to produce single-digits in homers, which he’s not done since 2010. Besides, he’s 33-years-old and could platoon somewhere in New York (either side of the subway), where outfielders are also getting old. Call the Yankees and see if Gardner needs rest, maybe even move Curtis Granderson into a spot starter role for the Mets. Either way, if Cespedes is trade bait, nobody has job security.
$28 Million Must Go. And Will.
Justin Verlander returned from his injury stint June 13, and immediately began his downward spiral. His career numbers are enticing (3.58, 152-92) but his age (32) and command problems will call his ridiculous salary into question. It shouldn’t take $28 million reasons to unload Verlander, but the Detroit Tigers could probably find someone desperate for fifth starter roles, like Chicago or Baltimore, to eat salary. As the queries begin coming into Detroit’s phone lines, expect Justin’s name to pop up at least once in 10 days.
Detroit Will Still End Season 81-81
We’re not talking about Philadelphia, people. The Detroit Tigers do have monster bats and some pitching talent, or should, since Price may command ridiculous prospects and money. Maybe putting trade rumors into media is part of a much larger plan to awaken the Tigers clubhouse. Either way, whether anyone moves or stays, expect 81-83 wins to cap out the season.
[Photo by Leon Halip / Getty Images]