Things are getting crazy as the deadline approaches. David Price looks to be on his way out, and a team that nobody had seriously talked as a contender for him is suddenly one of the frontrunners to land him. That team is the Detroit Tigers, but there’s a catch: the Tigers don’t have the prospects to get a deal done. Instead, one of the headliners of the trade may have to be a young, controllable player.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 31, 2014
For Tigers to have realistic chance at landing David Price, I believe Drew Smyly would need to be part of the offer.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2014
In the minor leagues, the Detroit Tigers have a few decent prospects, but there is no real highly-touted player that could headline a deal. That is where the younger players on the Tigers’ roster–Drew Smyly, Rick Porcello, Eugenio Suarez, and Nick Castellanos could come in.
Rick Porcello is 25, but already in his 6th big league season. He has been great this year, going 12-5 with a 3.24 ERA, but he has a 4.34 ERA overall in the big leagues and does not strike anybody out (5.4 career K/9). He is also a free agent after next season. He does not make any sense in return for Price.
Drew Smyly is a little more interesting. Also a 25 year old right-hander, Smyly is 6-9 with a 3.77 ERA, a 7.8 K/9, a 2.8 BB/9, and a 1.3 HR/9 in 100.1 innings pitched for Detroit in 2013. He is in just his second season as a starter, also spending 2013 entirely in relief, and he plenty of team control remaining. He is only arbitration eligible for the first time next season. On the negative side, Smyly does not throw very hard, staying in the low-90’s, yet does not have great fastball command, leading to too many home runs allowed. He does have a good curveball and a decent cutter, but his less than overpowering fastball limits what he can do. Smyly is far closer to a number three starter to an ace, and he could only be the second or third piece in a deal.
Eugenio Suarez, 22, worked his way up from Double-A to the big leagues this season to help fill the Tigers’ hole at shortstop. He has put up good numbers (.260/.347/.394 line), but he lacks much power or speed, and even his defense at shortstop is not a sure thing. Aside from all of that, what would the Tigers do at shortstop if he was gone? They are still contending, after all. A deal involving Suarez would likely have to involve Ben Zobrist, and that’s a whole other discussion.
Finally, Nick Castellanos, also 22, was a legitimate top prospect in all of baseball entering this season, but he has put up mediocre numbers at the plate in his rookie year while playing poor defense at third base. He has the highest upside of any player we have mentioned, but even his stock has dropped significantly. At best, he is an outstanding pure hitter, but he lacks strong power or plate discipline, and he seems best suited for a corner outfield spot.
If the Detroit Tigers are going to acquire David Price, it is going to take something crazy. Maybe we’re talking Smyly, Castellanos, and the top three players the Rays like in their weak far system. Are the Tigers desperate enough to do that? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.