a��Over the next 30 days, I’ll look at 30 playersa��one from each teama��that I believe should be traded, but more along the lines of aA�a�?what ifa�? scenario. Some will seem obvious, just as others will seem nonsensical. Some may also seem desperate, but it’s important to understand that this list is entirely subjective and made up solely of notable names. A player can be deemed movable for any of the following reasons: production (or lack thereof), current and future team outlook, age, potential return value, salary, or even injury history.
What a difference a year makes.
In the four seasons from 2011 to 2014, the AL Central division belonged to the Detroit Tigers. Four consecutive titles, yet no World Series championship to show for it.
Then 2015 happened. The Tigers finished 74-87, good enough for last place. They were sellers at the deadline, trading David Price and Yoenis Cespedes to the Blue Jays and Mets, respectively.
Dave Dombrowski, part of the organization for 14 years, is neither the President nor General Manger of the club any longer. Those distinctions now belong to Al Avilia. For some strange reason, manager Brad Ausmus will be back for the 2016 season.
As for the rest of the personnel, there’s a couple names they should think about moving before they age out. One of those happens to be still-productive second baseman: Ian Kinsler.
The 33-year-old who came over in a trade for Prince Fielder before the 2014 campaign rebounded nicely from his inaugural season with Detroit, slashing .296/.342/.428 with 94 runs scored, 35 doubles, and 11 home runs.
He’s under contract through 2017a��$14 million this year, $11 million nexta��with an option for 2018 worth $12 million, when he’ll be 36.
Now, the Tigers were middle of the pack (15th) in runs scored this past year, so trading offense might seem counterproductivea��plus my initial idea centered around a resurgent (of sorts) Justin Verlandera��but there’s a very good reason why they should sacrifice some production at the plate this offseason: pitching.
We touched on Detroit’s number of runs scored, but they were first in batting average, second in OBP, and sixth in slugging percentage. Giving up a little bit of offense should be okay, because their pitching numbers were absolutely despicable in 2015.
They had the third-highest team ERA (4.64), allowed the third-most earned runs (746) and runs (803), all while opponents hit .268 off of thema��the fourth-highest mark in the league.
With Alfredo SimA?n becoming a free agent (that they will not miss), here’s who Detroit has under contract in the rotation for next season, along with their 2016 salary: Justin Verlander ($28 million), Anibal SA?nchez ($16.8 million), Shane Greene (pre-arbitration), and Kyle Lobstein (pre-arb).
Here’s how they finished in terms of starts, innings, ERA, and FIP last season:
Verlander a�� 20; 133.1; 3.38/3.49
SA?nchez a�� 25; 157; 4.99/4.73
Greene a�� 16; 83.2; 6.88/5.14
Lobstein a�� 11; 63.2; 5.94/4.64
Not a single one above 160 innings, and while Verlandera��now 32a��bounced back from a horrific 2014 campaign, he is no longer capable of carrying this rotation on his back. Unfortunately for Detroit, he’s owed $28 million per year through 2019. Again, I thought about including Verlander in this, but he’s just too darn expensive.
SA?nchez isn’t much younger at 31, regressed massively from ’13 and 14′, but is due $16.8 million over the next two seasons.
The sample sizes for Greene and Lobstein were pretty small, particularly Lobstein’s, but right now there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about between the two of them. If those numbers aren’t enough to convince you how desperately Detroit needs starting pitching, then no such numbers exist.
There would be plenty of interested takers for Kinsler, I’d imagine, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being dealt to a contending club. Who might that be? Not a clue, but looking at them right now, I can definitively say it’s not Detroit.
It’s time for Detroit to reinvest in some starting pitching. Since both Verlander and Miguel Cabrera are unrealistic options financially, a rebuilding of the rotation begins by moving one of their more valuable, but less expensive bats.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs