By: Will Burchfield
With Monday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline fast approaching, the Tigers still have some intriguing chips in hand.
Justin Verlander, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias headline the list. Is there a market for any of them?
In regard to Verlander, things have dried up. It seems the Tigers were never willing to pay more than the rest of Verlander’s salary this season, and teams weren’t interested in picking up the $56 million he’s owed from 2018-2019.
Detroit will place him back on the trade market this winter, when his number of suitors figures to increase.
That won’t be an issue for Verlander, who said on Sunday that he’s in a win-win situation leading up to the deadline.
In regard to Kinsler and Iglesias, there’s at least scant hope of a trade. The two are much more affordable than Verlander, from both a financial and a prospect-cost standpoint.
The issue is that not many contending teams need infield help. Indeed, it’s been a grim market for position players from the start. (See: Martinez, J.D.)
As of Monday morning, there was reportedly nothing “serious going on with Kinsler.”
Are there contending teams that could use him? Yes. But probably no more than two: the Brewers and the Dodgers.
Milwaukee has a need at second base, where Jonathan Villar has taken a big step back after a strong 2016 and Eric Sogard offers little upside. The Brewers were rumored to be in on Kinsler last week, but more as an add-on in a potential Justin Wilson deal.
Wilson, of course, was traded to the Cubs on Sunday night.
The Dodgers have been interested in Kinsler since last offseason. The 38-year-old Chase Utley is a replacement-level player at this point in his career, both at the plate and in the field. Kinsler could give the Dodgers’ World Series aspirations a real boost.
The issue is that the Dodgers are one of 10 teams on Kinsler’s limited no-trade list. And his agent said in the offseason the second baseman will only approve such a trade if granted a contract extension.
The market is similarly limited for Iglesias. Again, just two teams stand out: the Nationals and the Diamondbacks.
Both teams have been put into a bind at short due to injuries.
Washington lost Trea Tuner in late June, and he remains without a timetable for a return. Wilmer Difo has since stepped up, but it’s hard to see the Nats settling on him as their shortstop down the stretch and potentially into the playoffs. Stephen Drew, recently placed on the DL, isn’t the answer either.
Could Iglesias be their guy?
He’s a wizard in the field, and his bat has shown some pop of late. He’s hitting .379 with a .903 OPS since July 9.
The Nats have won the second most games in baseball since 2012, but have yet to win a playoff series. Maybe their appetite for postseason success pushes them to swing a deal for Iglesias.
Arizona, meanwhile, saw Chris Owings go down with a broken right finger over the weekend. Like Turner, the timeframe for his recovery is uncertain. Suddenly the Diamondbacks have a need for a shortstop.
The Tigers already linked up with the D’backs on the J.D. Martinez trade, so they have a good feel for Arizona’s farm system. Perhaps there’s another deal to be made.
Iglesias is under team control through 2018.