The Detroit Tigers appear close to be waiving the white flag, as they sit in last place in the suddenly competitive American League Central. With a payroll that still does not equal that of a playoff contender, it is time for the Tigers to start selling off some pieces to a team that was once considered a perennial World Series threat. But now, the core is getting older, and the window to win seems to have all but closed on Detroit. Needing to restock the farm system, the time is now to part with some of their upper echelon players. While the Tigers attempted to move Ian Kinsler over the offseason for the right package, the ultimately turned down any and all offers. Due to either age or contract or both, it may be difficult to move the likes of Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez or even Justin Upton, but we could see Detroit entertain offers for players such as J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila or even their ace of the past decade.
The latest rumors have the Tigers involved in trade talks with the Chicago Cubs, who see a need on the mound and at catcher if they are to realistically repeat as World Series champs. It just so happens that the Tigers could help the Cubs on both fronts, by trading Justin Verlander as well as Avila to the Cubs. If Detroit wants a better return package, then it will have to pay a decent chunk of Verlander’s remaining $70 million over the next two-plus years of his contract. If they are not looking for as much in return, but rather hoping to shed salary, then they can ask the Cubs to cover the remainder of his contract, while settling for lesser-tiered prospects in return.
Either way, this is a story likely to gain traction over the coming days and weeks. With the MLB Trade Deadline less than a month away, look for the Tigers to enter the sellers market, while the Cubs clearly appear to be serious buyers.