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Boyd on Tigers: 'This is where I want to be'

Lefty confident Detroit will win soon, and he wants to be part of it
@beckjason
August 4, 2019

ARLINGTON – In the end, Matthew Boyd didn’t go anywhere. Once the Trade Deadline had passed, on Thursday afternoon, Boyd simply went back to work, putting all the rumors behind him. Now, it’s on the Tigers to figure out where to go from here. The Tigers never came close to

ARLINGTON – In the end, Matthew Boyd didn’t go anywhere. Once the Trade Deadline had passed, on Thursday afternoon, Boyd simply went back to work, putting all the rumors behind him. Now, it’s on the Tigers to figure out where to go from here.

The Tigers never came close to a trade offer that tempted them to part ways with Boyd, amidst a career year and three years out from free agency. It was clear enough that Tigers general manager Al Avila told the left-hander a week and a half ago, as Detroit left on its nine-game, 10-day road trip, that he would most likely still be a Tiger when the team returned home.

It was welcome news for Boyd, whose wife is due to give birth to their second child very soon.

“This is where I want to be,” Boyd said Saturday after striking out nine Rangers over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision. “I feel called to Detroit, the city, this team. Detroit truly is home, and I'm so grateful for that. It means everything to me when I put on that uniform every single day. Things are changing here for the better. Everybody in this locker room knows it, and we're going to come out on the other side as a squad very, very soon.”

Boyd has talked openly about wanting to see the rebuild through, even though it’s not clear where the team will be in that process when his contract year approaches in 2022. His rise from unranked prospect in the Blue Jays' system at the time of the David Price trade -- the Tigers acquired Boyd on the recommendation of scout Jeff Wetherby -- to a No. 1 starter in Detroit is a testament to his willingness not only to work hard but to work smart, incorporating advanced tools, sports science and analytics into his development. He has talked with teammates about his work at Driveline Baseball in Seattle, as well as his work to change his body.

“He's not only a great pitcher now, he's going to be a great mentor for a lot of guys coming up through our system,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said on Saturday. “Some of our big prospects are going to benefit from this, too. It's a good thing.”

That’s obviously not the big reason Boyd is still around. The Tigers feel there’s more upside for the 28-year-old as he continues to explore his game, and it could benefit the Tigers, whether they revisit trade interest at season’s end and next summer, or they eventually look at him as part of the long-term plan.

If the Tigers are thinking about the latter, the time to do something is approaching. Detroit hasn’t signed one of its arbitration-eligible players to a long-term deal past his free-agent year since Justin Verlander. J.D. Martinez signed a two-year contract before the 2016 season, but it covered his remaining arbitration years, not free agency.

The Tigers aren’t there yet with Boyd.

“I think this is something you take year to year,” Avila said Thursday. “We love Boyd. He's one of those guys who's smart, a hard worker. Obviously, this is the best year he's had, and we expect him to continue to move forward and have success. The long term is certainly not out of the question here. But just like anybody on your roster, you have to be careful and keep an open mind in the event that something may come up that changes your franchise. And we're in that stage where we have to keep an open mind.”

If that stage shifts, Boyd would be interested to listen.

“There's things to talk through,” Boyd said, “but if they were to approach me with something like that, that would be an honor, and flattering. I wouldn't cross the bridge until it comes, but I want to bring a championship to this city.”

It’s a line you hear from many players when a long-term deal is discussed, but Boyd believes he can do it. He has the optimism to want to contend in Detroit, rather than somewhere else.

“We're going to win here,” Boyd continued. “We're going to bring a championship here. It's going to happen. Things are changing. We have the right guys here, and we have the right people at the helm in the dugout every day. They've set the culture, and we believe in it. We know we can do it.

“It may seem dark right now, it may seem kind of gloomy, but the guys in here, the fight's there. We know what we can do. We're all getting better, and we know what we're capable of. It's going to change. We believe it.”

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