General manager Dave Dombrowski is aggressive and will do whatever it takes to upgrade the Tigers roster.
As the clock ticks toward July 31, the Detroit Tigers have taken some control of the American League Central and are in a good position to make the postseason for the third consecutive year. But that does not mean they are a team without flaws.
Like every contender, major or otherwise, the Tigers have holes that need to be filled. And as we know, the front office will be very aggressive to find any option out there to upgrade the roster to help them get over the World Series hump they tripped over last October.
Also, as with a lot of playoff hopefuls, the bullpen will be a major area of concern this summer. There are always plenty of arms out there to be had, though we will see which teams want to pay the often steep price to acquire them.
Here is the latest news and rumors surrounding the Tigers this trade season. It will be updated when fresh news breaks.
Posted: July 31 at 9:20 a.m. ET
The Tigers got some insurance at shortstop in case something happens with Jhonny Peralta and the Biogenesis suspensions by acquiring Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox in a three-team deal in which the Tigers sent Avisail Garcia to division-rival Chicago (h/t MLB.com).
Peralta was one of the players named on the Anthony Bosch-Biogenesis list reported by the Miami New Times back in January, and now Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that most of the players involved in the scandal could be suspended for at least 50 games as soon as this week.
If that happens, the Tigers will need help at shortstop. Since there is no shortstop you can trade for who can provide Peralta's offensive value, the Tigers opted to try a strategy that is foreign to them and grab someone who can actually play defense.
Iglesias is a tremendous defender at shortstop with range for days, a plus arm and great feel for the position. He doesn't fit the Tigers' mold because he can't hit. Don't be fooled by his .330/.376/.409 line, His bat speed is decent but there is no power to drive the ball, so he has to hit a ton of singles to keep his average and on-base percentage up.
In exchange, the Tigers did give up their No. 2 prospect in Avisail Garcia to the White Sox. He has solid upside with plus raw power, good bat speed, foot speed and arm strength. It is a little curious that they would decide to move him in this particular deal, but the Tigers are never shy about trading prospects if they feel it makes them better in the future.
It also helps that they have outfield depth with top prospect Nick Castellanos learning the ropes out there, though he is still a much better and more valuable prospect as a third baseman where his profiles better than in a corner outfield spot.
Posted: Monday, July 29 at 4:45 p.m. ET
The Tigers' search for a reliever took them to Houston, where they were able to acquire Jose Veras from the Astros in exchange for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later (h/t Brian McTaggart of MLB.com).
Vasquez, who does have solid upside even though he is in Low-A, isn't a steep price to pay for a reliever under contract for the rest of this season and with a team option for 2014.
Plus, considering how the Tigers' bullpen has faltered this season, Veras is an arm they desperately needed. He is having a career year with a 2.93 ERA and 19 saves for the Astros and showing better control than he ever has.
Whether Veras keeps up that pace remains to be seen. No one would be shocked to see his walk rate start elevating back up to the 4.68 mark it has been throughout his career.
Still, Veras has a very good arm and can stabilize a group in Detroit that has really struggled with consistency.
This time of year gets blown out of proportion when there are reports that scouts from a team is taking in a series involving two other clubs. They do that all the time throughout the year.
However, when you can find a logical trade scenario involving one team scouting another series, it is reasonable to assume that something might be brewing.
There is one less piece in that puzzle for the Tigers to scout, as Francisco Rodriguez was traded from the Brewers to Baltimore on Tuesday night. But the Padres are stacked with relievers, as usual, with Luke Gregerson, Huston Street and Joe Thatcher.
The Brewers still have a few arms left to deal like John Axford and Tom Gorzelanny, specifically. Either way, the Tigers will have their choice of relievers to look at through Thursday before deciding what to do.
Posted: July 22 at 12:45 p.m. ET
In the never-ending quest to fix what ails their bullpen, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Tigers have looked at San Diego for some help. Specifically mentioned are Huston Street and Luke Gregerson.
Gregerson would likely be a more attractive option just because he is much cheaper, though still a little expensive for a reliever at $3.2 million, and has a year of team control left. Street is making $7 million this year and next with a team option for 2015 also at $7 million.
That is a huge financial commitment for Street, especially considering that he hasn't thrown more than 40 innings in a season since 2011 and hasn't gone over 60 since 2009.
The Tigers aren't afraid to throw money at a problem, so if they were to go after Street and agree to pick up most or all of his contract, that could allow them to send a lower-tier prospect back to San Diego.
Gregerson, who boasts a 2.93 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, is also a better investment if you are just looking for a pitcher whose results and stuff translate outside the pitcher-friendly environment of PetCo Park. The 29-year-old is a groundball pitcher who relies on command and movement to keep hitters off balance.
Posted: July 22 at 12:45 p.m. ET
Not that this will come as a surprise given how many different outlets have linked the two parties together, but Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Tigers "hope" they will land Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez when the trade dust settles.
Rodriguez is the perfect sell-high candidate for the fledgling Brewers. He was an afterthought coming into the season, yet has managed to rack up 26 strikeouts in 24.2 innings of work with a 1.09 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.
There are obvious limitations with K-Rod, most notably the fact that he is just a specialist at this point. Granted it's a small sample size, but right-handed hitters have torched him this season with a .324/.390/.432 line and a 7-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 37 at-bats.
But for a team like the Tigers, which boasts the eight-worst bullpen ERA in baseball, anyone who can consistently get outs is a huge upgrade for them.
Posted: July 16 at 10:45 a.m. ET
In what is sure to be one of the most-talked about rumors of the deadline season, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports notes that several teams, including the Tigers, have looked into acquiring Tim Lincecum and using him in a relief role.
Multiple sources told me recently that some teams — the Tigers are one — have interest in acquiring Lincecum as a reliever for the stretch drive. Of course, that presumes that the Giants will become sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. That’s far from certain, even with a 43-50 record.
A lot of balls would have to fall into place for the Giants to consider moving Lincecum, even if he is a free agent at the end of the year. First, the odds of the defending champions becoming sellers at the deadline in a mediocre division seems remote.
Second, even though he succeeded as a reliever in last year's postseason, why would Lincecum want to move to a situation that doesn't maximize his talents and possibly costs him a little money on his next contract?
Third, would the Tigers even have enough to convince the Giants to move Lincecum? He isn't having a great season with a 4.26 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, but there aren't a lot of starting pitchers striking out more than nine batters per nine innings pitched.
Posted: July 12 at 7:45 pm ET
As the trade season heats up, the one area that all teams will be looking to upgrade is the bullpen. It is no secret that the Tigers have had their issues in that regard this season. Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that Detroit is moving in on the Brewers.
Milwaukee (37-54, last in NL Central) has had a disastrous season and could start to move pieces and add weapons to its rather weak system.
The report does say that there have not been formal talks between the Tigers and Brewers up to this point. Obviously, all that can change in a hurry, especially with Dave Dombrowski always quick to wheel and deal.
The Brewers do have a number of relievers in the midst of strong seasons, like Francisco Rodriguez and Tom Gorzelanny, who are likely to draw some attention in the next few weeks.
Posted: July 8, 9:45 a.m.
Following Sunday's bullpen meltdown against Cleveland, which has become a common theme for the Tigers this season, all eyes will turn toward upgrading the relief corps before the July 31 trade deadline.
One of the biggest bullpen names out there is Jonathan Papelbon, though it remains to be seen if the Philadelphia Phillies will actually waive the white flag and deal any of their valuable assets.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Tigers are one of three teams that "may have some interest" in acquiring Papelbon at the deadline.
There are two things that could sway the Tigers away from Papelbon. One is money, as the 32-year-old is due $13 million in 2014 and 2015.
While the Detroit front office isn't afraid to spend in the best interest of the team, that is a lot of money to invest in a relief pitcher whose stuff isn't nearly what it used to be. According to Fangraphs, Papelbon's average fastball velocity is the lowest of his career at 92.5 mph. His 7.79 strikeouts per nine innings is by far the lowest rate of his career.
Another problem the Tigers face is a lack of bargaining chips. Even though you can't say there's no one they wouldn't deal, it is hard to envision a scenario in which they would dangle top prospect Nick Castellanos for a relief pitcher.
Once you get past Castellanos, that system is incredibly thin. The Tigers don't keep their high draft picks because they sign free agents, and because they trade prospects like they are going out of style, there isn't much else that the Phillies could be enticed by for one of the premier relievers on the market. (Again, that assumes the Phillies will dangle Papelbon.)
Posted: July 8, 10:00 a.m.
Teams are in the process of doing their due diligence, so it is not a surprise that the Tigers would be at that particular game, with two teams who are going nowhere fast and possessing several assets that could be attractive.
With the exception of a few players—most notably Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun—the Brewers should be willing and ready to move anyone. Their farm system is terrible right now. They have no impact at the top, though I did like their draft this year, and they have valuable assets that can make their future a lot brighter than it is right now.
The Mets are a complete mess at the big league level right now. Matt Harvey, David Wright and Zack Wheeler are the foundation, but everything around those three lacks significant appeal to bring in a big return.
Since the Tigers don't have anything major to offer, unless they decide to shop Nick Castellanos, the front office will have to get creative in order to upgrade the roster.