With every team in contention searching for relief help, closer Justin Wilson could fetch a nice return as the Tigers rebuild. ASSOCIATED PRESS
If any stubborn delusions remained, the Tigers’ sweep at the hands of Kansas City mercifully ended them.
It is time to sell, sell, sell.
As the July 31 trade deadline nears and the Tigers set off on a long but necessary rebuild, here’s a look at three stars who could be on the move — and the big-time deal that will happen, the blockbuster swap that might, and the one that won’t.
1. Closer Justin Wilson: Funny how it works. Just when the Tigers at last find a reliable closer, it is time to say goodbye. With just about every contender in search of relief help, the 29-year-old power lefty under team control through 2018 is Detroit’s most alluring bait. Trade odds: 95 percent.
2. Starter Justin Verlander: Teams are generally hesitant to take on a big salary and give up a marquee package of prospects. But if the Tigers are willing to eat a portion of the $56 million Verlander is due the next two seasons, the 34-year-old ace — who has shown signs lately of recapturing his past form — should fetch a nice return. Trade odds: 50 percent.
3. First baseman Miguel Cabrera: OK, this is a 1-in-100 long shot, given the 34-year-old future Hall of Fame slugger’s age, salary, and precipitously fading bat. But Fox analyst Alex Rodriguez got the baseball nation talking about it anyway. “I would not be surprised to see Dave Dombrowski pull off a blockbuster and get Miguel Cabrera to the Red Sox,” he said on a broadcast last week. “Let me tell you why. Six years, $184 million owed to him, no no-trade clause, and they have the prospects in Boston and the resources with [owner] John Henry to make this deal happen.”
As painful as it would be to trade one of the great all-time hitters, this would be an all-time coup for the Tigers. Just don’t hold your breath. Trade odds: 1 percent.