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Inbox: Will Tigers deal Boyd or Castellanos?

Detroit reporter Jason Beck answers fans' questions
@beckjason
July 22, 2019

Time to dig into the Tigers Inbox with just over a week to go until the Trade Deadline: Which Tigers player will get the biggest return at the Deadline? -- JP, Kentwood, Mich. If Matthew Boyd is traded, he’ll get the biggest return. The three extra seasons he can offer

Time to dig into the Tigers Inbox with just over a week to go until the Trade Deadline:

Which Tigers player will get the biggest return at the Deadline?
-- JP, Kentwood, Mich.

If Matthew Boyd is traded, he’ll get the biggest return. The three extra seasons he can offer a team before he hits free agency widen his potential market and his appeal. If not, it’ll be Shane Greene; nearly every contender can use bullpen help.

Should the Tigers trade Nicholas Castellanos?
-- Demitirus M., Detroit

Unless Detroit can get nothing more than low-ranked prospects in return, or if the Tigers suddenly reverse course and decide to push for a contract extension, the logical move is to trade Castellanos. That’s no guarantee he gets traded, and some in the industry believe Detroit might actually end up holding onto him, but that’s more of a reaction to the market. The expectation on the market is that he won’t get a big return, despite interest from the Cubs, but nobody expected much out of a Leonys Martin trade either. It just takes one team.

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If the Tigers don't get a reasonable offer for Castellanos, are they better off holding on to him and making him a qualifying offer? If he leaves, they can get a decent comp pick. In hindsight, wouldn't that have been a better course with J.D. Martinez a couple years ago?
-- Dan B., Sioux Falls, S.D.

If there was reasonable confidence Castellanos would decline the qualifying offer for a big contract somewhere else, this strategy would make sense. In fact, Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila mentioned it at the end of last season. But last winter’s market changed the landscape, and if the Tigers made Castellanos a qualifying offer, it’s reasonable to suspect he might accept it, take the one-year contract with a significant pay raise and hit free agency a year later while still in his prime years. He wouldn’t be the first Scott Boras client to accept a qualifying offer. And while the Tigers could use his offensive production next season, another year of Castellanos in career limbo would be a lingering saga. He’s a good presence in the clubhouse, but the uncertainty has had an impact on him and the club.

As for Martinez, the reason Detroit never seriously considered keeping him and making a qualifying offer was that the compensation pick would’ve been in the fourth round, rather than the first or second. The Tigers' payroll was over the luxury-tax threshold that year, which would’ve lowered their comp pick.

Ironically, Martinez and Castellanos could both be on the free-agent market this offseason if Martinez opts out of his deal in Boston.

Is Castellanos the only one that gets traded at the Deadline? Can we expect a Dawel Lugo-ish kind of player in return?
-- Scott D., Mich.

Greene’s value to contenders will never be higher than it is now, between his performance this season and his additional year of control. The Tigers have set a high price tag on him so far, but two years ago they turned Justin Wilson and Alex Avila into their current third baseman and a current top-100 prospect.

Do you think the Tigers actually have a shot at landing an established young star at the Deadline?
-- Mike A., Ann Arbor, Mich.

I think the Tigers are putting a premium on their asking price for Boyd, which is what a lot of clubs do in mid-July before the Trade Deadline countdown begins in earnest and teams begin negotiating towards a middle ground. Their best chance to get top talent in a trade would be to package trade pieces together, such as Boyd and Greene, but that would be more likely to net a top prospect or two than an established star. Young stars tend to be a big part of the reason teams are contending in the first place.

Do the Tigers risk losing out on a really good deal because they aim to high at this stage?
-- Dan H., Baltimore

The ratio of teams looking for starting pitching to teams with starting pitching to trade would suggest no. The risk Detroit might run would be teams dropping out of the race over the next week and no longer buying. But with Boyd, there’s still an appeal for teams that see their window of contention as more next year and beyond.

Would the Tigers be willing to throw in a prospect like Alex Faedo, Logan Shore or Kody Clemens to land someone like Carter Kieboom, or are all prospects off limits?
-- Kevin Y., Chandler, Ariz.

While the Nationals have shown interest in Greene, top prospect Kieboom is off-limits according to Jamal Collier, MLB.com’s Nationals beat writer. That said, Detroit threw in right-hander Kyle Dowdy with Leonys Martin to get Willi Castro back from the Indians, so Avila has shown a willingness to get creative.

Will Casey Mize or Matt Manning get a start for the Tigers this year?
-- Anthony N.

They will not. I didn’t think so before, and after Mize was hit for six runs in two-thirds of an inning Sunday in his return to Double-A Erie, I expect Detroit won’t push him, even if he’s perfectly healthy. The Tigers have been careful with Manning’s innings lately as well. Ideally, the two will finish the season at Triple-A Toledo and be in position to spend next Spring Training in Major League camp and compete for a big league callup.

After watching Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio beat up the Tigers, where is Detroit’s young homegrown impact fielder?
-- Steve A.

Nobody besides Toronto might have a young impact hitter on the level of Vlad, so forget about that. As for Detroit, Riley Greene has had a very good first summer in pro ball between the Gulf Coast and New York-Penn Leagues. Cuban slugger Roberto Campos is at their Dominican academy and can’t start his climb up the farm system until next year.

Is Boyd getting two starts this week?
-- BJ H., Cincinnati

Yes. Boyd is slated to start Tuesday against the Phillies. With no off-days until late next week, he’s on track to start Sunday’s series finale in Seattle -- unless he’s traded, of course.

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