Detroit Tigers appear ready to “listen” to trade offers

There appears to be a growing possibility that the Detroit Tigers could be sellers at the deadline for the second time in the past three seasons.

On Friday, the Detroit Tigers dropped their seventh consecutive game after being beaten by the San Diego Padres by a score of 1-0. Prior to the game, Evan Woodbery of MLive reported that GM Al Avila has now said that the team is prepared to begin “listening” on trade offers.

It should, of course, be noted that Avila said that the Tigers are merely “open to listening” rather than “aggressively shopping.” However, dating all the way back to last October, there have been quite a few whispers and trade rumors surrounding the Tigers’ veteran players.

Although many expected a fire sale to take place last winter, the Tigers pretty much kept the band together. They did, however, trade Cameron Maybin to the Los Angeles Angels, which has left a hole in center field they have still yet to fill. The Tigers also let backup catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk and brought back Alex Avila, which has turned out to be an excellent move.

Who could be on the move?

Detroit is now sitting in last place in the AL Central with a record of 32-41. It would hardly be shocking if the team does in fact decide to move a few big pieces at this year’s trading deadline. The Tigers also, of course, decided to become sellers back in 2015, dealing David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria.

This time around, many have pointed to outfielder J.D. Martinez, a free-agent-to-be, as perhaps the Tigers’ most likely trade candidate. Now in his fourth year in Detroit, Martinez is having yet another extremely impressive season for the Tigers. Since coming off the DL on May 12, Martinez has hit .296/.382/.644 with 12 home runs and 27 RBI.

Recently, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also mentioned reliever Justin Wilson as a potential fit for the Washington Nationals. Earlier this season, Wilson took over the closer’s role from the now-released Francisco Rodriguez and has done quite well. Wilson has posted a 2.96 ERA and a 12.84 K/9 while converting five saves in six opportunities this season.

Trickier trade candidates

Even players such as Ian Kinsler, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera were brought up in trade scenarios over the winter. However, dealing veteran players with larger contracts may prove to be a more difficult task for Detroit.

Back in December, Rosenthal reported that Kinsler had the ability to veto a trade to 10 different teams. Kinsler has a $12 million team option ($5 million buyout) for next season, according to Baseball Reference. As Bless You Boys has described in the past, Verlander and Cabrera, who are signed through at least 2019 and 2023, respectively, have now acquired 10-5 rights. They have full no-trade protection and would have to approve of any potential deal. DH Victor Martinez has 10-5 rights as well.

The Tigers were a force not so long ago, winning four consecutive AL Central titles between 2011-14. That said, it now appears that this particular window is on its way to closing, if it hasn’t already. Over the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if they can turn their season around, or if a reshaping of the team may commence.

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