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Inbox: Can Verlander, J.D. net top prospects?

Beat reporter Jason Beck fields Tigers fans' questions @beckjason

Taking questions from Twitter as the season's second half gets underway …

Will the Tigers be able to trade Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez for high prospects?
-- @jamara23732

Taking questions from Twitter as the season's second half gets underway …

Will the Tigers be able to trade Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez for high prospects?
-- @jamara23732

You'd like to think they could get top prospects back based on talent level and accomplishments, but there's a factor in each case that's going to make it tough. In Martinez's case, he's a corner fielder in his contract year in a market with more good outfielders on the market than teams that need one. Martinez should be one of the best on the market, but that might not be enough. In Verlander's case, the quality of prospects the Tigers are offered depend on how much of Verlander's contract the Tigers would be willing to eat. Every indication so far is that the Tigers remain disinclined to eat salary on Verlander to move him.

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Tweet from @WAH3rd: 3.5 is the over/under on @tigers players to be traded.....what are you taking?

Unless there's one huge megadeal, I don't think the Tigers will trade four or more players at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. They would have to trade at least one player under long-term contract to pull that off, and so far they haven't bridged the gap between wanting top prospects and not wanting to eat large swaths of salary.

Is Michael Fulmer not the guy we hope to get in a "selling" Trade Deadline situation? Why is he even being discussed as an option?
-- @rjschimmy

The answer to your first question is yes. The Tigers would be ecstatic if they could pull off another deal like the Yoenis Cespedes trade that brought over Fulmer two years ago. The problem is that they need more talent like Fulmer to pull off a rebuild, which is what leads to the second part. Teams don't just want top pitchers nowadays; they want those talents at controllable salaries for a while if they're going to give up top prospects. The two starting pitchers the Red Sox acquired in trades, Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz, both are in their 20s and under team control through 2018, though Sale obviously makes more money.

When Dave Dombrowski was Tigers general manager, he never wanted to say a player is untouchable, for precisely this reason. If a team is willing to give an overwhelming offer for a player, no matter who it is, he wanted to at least listen. Different GM, but similar philosophy. If the Tigers are serious about restocking with young talent, and have a chance to get a bunch of it in return for a good young player, they have to least listen to ideas. But getting top prospects without shedding big contracts only accomplishes part of the goal.

Video: DET@CLE: Fulmer doubles up Chisenhall in the 2nd

Tweet from @BBuschell: Do you think they will go into Full Rebuild mode? If so they should dangle Fulmer as he will bring the most back.

Depends on how you define it. I think the Tigers like their young pitching enough, both in Detroit and in their farm system, that they feel they can build around that long term. But their lineup is aging, and they don't have enough impact hitters to fill the gaps.

What are the odds we have a center fielder on Opening Day 2018 not named Mikie Mahtook, JaCoby Jones, Alex Presley or Andrew Romine?
-- @CGChurro95

I wouldn't put odds on it, but the Tigers will have an opportunity to get a young center fielder in one of these trades, now or in the offseason. The teams that would be likely suspects in deals for their players, including the Nationals, Dodgers and Cubs, all have center-field prospects, a couple of them close to big league ready. The Tigers need impact hitters more than specific positions, but with Jones struggling at Triple-A Toledo, they could use options in center. If they found a long-term option, they could always move Jones to another position.

Any team willing to take a flier on Anibal Sanchez for a low-level prospect now that he's pitched better of late?
-- @danieljbreen

Maybe. Scouts following the Tigers have had encouraging reports about Sanchez over his last few starts. If a team wants to add a veteran starter on a rental but not give up significant prospects or take on a big salary, Sanchez is an intriguing option. The Tigers were supposedly offering to eat most of his salary to try to trade him earlier this season, before his recent revival. Who would owe what for the $5 million buyout on his $16 million option for next season would take some figuring out, though.

Sanchez might be a stronger possibility after the Trade Deadline, since no team would block him on waivers and risk taking on his contract.

Any chance we see Christin Stewart before September?
-- @bennietheblade

If you drive down I-75 and take in a game in Toledo, maybe. I would be stunned if they called him up to Detroit without any time at Triple-A.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

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