After a three-game series vs. the Rangers in Arlington, the Tigers are heading back to Detroit, where they'll open an Interleague set vs. the Dodgers on Friday night.While filing through the mailbag on the way back from Texas, here are the answers to some of your questions:
After a three-game series vs. the Rangers in Arlington, the Tigers are heading back to Detroit, where they'll open an Interleague set vs. the Dodgers on Friday night.
While filing through the mailbag on the way back from Texas, here are the answers to some of your questions:
I've generally had the same stance on a Justin Verlander trade since mid-July: I'll believe it when I see it. Either the Tigers have to cover more of his salary or take lesser prospects, or the Astros are going to have to bend to the pressure of October. Neither has happened yet.
That said, talking with industry folks who track the Tigers, there's a building sense that Detroit would rather get a deal done now than take this issue into the offseason. While the remaining contract obligation drops with time, the age factor increases. So if the Tigers can bridge the gap closely enough in salary and prospects, they might find a way to make it work.
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It's not looking likely. Though MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman reported that Jose Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann all cleared waivers, there's no clear market for any of them. Maybe Jose Iglesias could fill a late shortstop void, but the Nationals and Astros have had openings for a while and never came close.
This question has come up a lot this year, and the best answer is to look at what the White Sox were selling: younger players with relatively manageable contracts. Chris Sale was traded last offseason at 27 years old with three consecutive top-five American League Cy Young Award finishes and a contract that includes team options for $12.5 million in 2018 and $13.5 million in '19. Adam Eaton just turned 28 when he was dealt, coming off a top-10 finish among AL players in Wins Above Replacement, with a contract that includes team options through '21. Jose Quintana is 28 with team options through '20. The one big-contract older player they traded was Player Page for David Robertson, and they packaged him with rental Todd Frazier and young reliever Tommy Kahnle to make a deal with the Yankees work.
In the Tigers' case, most of the players being discussed for trade have been older and with bigger contracts. To do something like a White Sox-type sale would've been more realistic in 2013 or '14, before so many players entered their 30s and before they reached such big salaries. But Detroit was going for it, as was its mission, and the contracts it signed were built to go for it, not to be tradable if it didn't work out. If anything, the differences show the value of signing young players to long-term deals early in their careers, when salaries and option years are more flexible. The Tigers only did that with Verlander and Cabrera back in '08 and '09.
Yes. The Tigers are at 53-67 with 42 games left. They're 25-24 against division opponents, and they're 29-28 at home. They have 27 games left against AL Central foes, and nine of their remaining 15 games outside of the division are at home. Even during their last-place finishes in 2008 and '15, they finished with 74 wins; they haven't been under 70 since their 119-loss season in '03. While that streak is going to end sometime, certainly if they do a full rebuild, I'm not sure it's this year.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.