Ranking every Detroit Tigers player who could get traded this week, how likely they are to be moved

Tigers looking to sell again this trade deadline

Michael Fulmer, Jeimer Candelario, and Joe Jimenez. (2022 Getty Images)

DETROIT – The MLB trade deadline is one week away, and the Detroit Tigers should be active in trying to move short-term assets for players who could help when this rebuild finally does come to an end.

Nobody knows for sure how the Tigers are approaching the deadline, which falls on Aug. 2. Will they stick to moving guys on soon-to-expire deals, or are they willing to make bigger trades that could affect the direction of the franchise long-term?

READ: Tigers back in last-place -- will we see change, or is Chris Ilitch still ‘very pleased’?

Here’s a look at every single player I could see the Tigers even considering in trade discussions, ranked in order of how valuable they would be and how much the team could get in return.

1. Tarik Skubal

  • Season stats: 106.2 innings, 111 strikeouts, 27 walks, 3.88 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
  • Likelihood of trade: Very low

Recent rough stretch notwithstanding, Skubal is by far the most valuable asset on the Tigers’ roster right now, other than Riley Greene. The 25-year-old is under team control for another four seasons and won’t be a free agent until after 2026, at the earliest.

Despite a seven-start stretch in which he allowed 29 earned runs while striking out just 32 batters in 35 innings, Skubal’s overall numbers are solid. His last start -- six innings, one unearned run, and nine strikeouts -- brought his ERA back below 4.00.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal throws against the Baltimore Orioles in the third inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (The Associated Press 2022)

More importantly, Skubal has been strong in the areas that actually matter. He owns above average strikeout and whiff rates, his walk rate is borderline elite, and the quality of contact against him has improved tremendously from 2021.

It would take a lot for the Tigers to move Skubal, and even if they get some strong offers, there’s no guarantee Al Avila would seriously consider them. The Tigers have pitching depth, but 2022 is a jarring confirmation of the old adage, “You can never have too much pitching.”

Every team in baseball would love to have a 25-year-old left-hander with strikeout potential and a 3.26 xERA (expected ERA). The Tigers already have one. The cost to part with him should be astronomical.

2. Gregory Soto

  • Season stats: 31.2 innings, 32 strikeouts, 15 walks, 2.56 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
  • Likelihood of trade: Medium

A Soto trade is the trickiest to predict, because he has three more seasons of team control, but his trade value will never be higher. Despite a handful of shaky outings, he’s been mostly reliable for the second year in a row, and the raw stuff is electric.

The fact that Soto has represented the Tigers at the All-Star Game in back-to-back years won’t mean much in trade discussions, but there aren’t many other relievers available (especially left-handed ones) who can throw a fastball at triple digits and mix in a wipeout slider.

Trading for Soto wouldn’t cost as much as trading for Skubal, but the Tigers should still err on the side of keeping him around. There’s no reason to trade him away for a discount just because the team is out of contention.

One reason the Tigers might be more willing to move Soto: The emergence of Alex Lange and Will Vest. Both young relievers have shown an ability to lock down the late innings, so it’s not like losing Soto would necessarily leave them without closer options the next three years.

3. Joe Jimenez

  • Season stats: 37.1 innings, 49 strikeouts, 8 walks, 3.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
  • Likelihood of trade: High

If you haven’t been watching the Tigers the past few months (I can’t blame you), then you might not know that Jimenez has finally lived up to his prospect potential and become a dominant late-inning reliever.

The 27-year-old has excellent numbers across the board. He ranks in the 90th percentile or better in xERA, xwOBA (expected weighted on-base percentage), and strikeout percentage. He’s also in the 69th percentile or better in terms of average exit velocity allowed, hard hit percentage allowed, walk rate, whiff rate, chase rate, and fastball velocity.

In other words: Jimenez is missing bats, limiting hard contact, throwing strikes, and featuring elite raw stuff. Right now, there’s no weakness to his profile.

That’s one of the reasons Avila absolutely must trade Jimenez in the next seven days. As good has he’s been in 40 games this year, he was almost exclusively bad the 200+ games prior, and there’s no guarantee he’ll continue to pitch at this level.

Jimenez has another year of team control, which means he’ll be much more valuable as a trade asset this deadline than he would be as a rental next year. Most playoff contenders could use someone like Jimenez in the seventh or eighth innings, so Avila’s phone should be ringing off the hook.

4. Andrew Chafin

  • Season stats: 30.2 innings, 37 strikeouts, 9 walks, 2.64 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
  • Likelihood of trade: High

I know, I know, Chafin just got here. And he’s fun. But the Tigers have unfortunately put themselves in a position where he’s more valuable to them as a trade piece than he would be in next year’s bullpen.

Andrew Chafin #37 of the Detroit Tigers in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on June 4, 2022 in New York City. (2022 Getty Images)

The Tigers signed Chafin for $13 million over two years, but the second year is a player option. That was a discount for someone who posted a 1.83 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 71 games a year ago, but now that he’s backing it up with another elite season, Chafin should probably opt out and seek a more lucrative multi-year deal this offseason.

The chance that he might not be a rental could get the Tigers a little more value in a Chafin trade, and his numbers alone should have teams checking the price tag.

5. Michael Fulmer

  • Season stats: 36 innings, 35 strikeouts, 19 walks, 3.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
  • Likelihood of trade: Very high

Although Fulmer might be the single likeliest player on the Tigers to get traded this week, he won’t yield the return that many fans envision.

Fulmer is a rental who will hit free agency for the first time after this season. His surface stats are solid, but his underlying numbers are nowhere near what they were in 2021. Fulmer is walking more than a batter every other inning, throwing his fastball 2 mph slower on average, and underwhelming in the strikeout department.

Even though he might be a bit overrated, Fulmer is still good enough to be traded before the deadline, and the Tigers will at least get something in return.

6. Jeimer Candelario

  • Season stats: .203/.269/.352 (.620 OPS), 9 home runs, 7 doubles, 18 walks, 67 strikeouts
  • Likelihood of trade: Medium-low

You’ll notice the top five most valuable trade pieces on this list are all pitchers. That will happen when a team’s offense puts up historically awful numbers across the board.

Candelario shoulders a lot of the blame for that. But here’s the thing: As bad as he’s been, any sign that Candelario is heating up at the plate should get teams’ attention because of how good he was the last two years.

In 2020, Candelario posted a career-high .872 OPS with 21 extra-base hits and a .369 OBP in 52 games. Then, last season, Candelario was a 3.8 WAR (wins above replacement) player with an MLB-leading 42 doubles to go along with 16 homers and a .351 OBP.

So, teams might be inclined to look at Candelario’s last 21 games, in which he’s batted .258 with a .355 OBP, four home runs and an .810 OPS. Those four homers came in his last 11 games.

Any team looking for a low-cost, high-ceiling bat at the deadline -- maybe to protect themselves from injury or provide a short-term fill-in -- could call about Candelario. At this point, Avila should be motivated to make a move, especially since Candelario could be non-tendered this offseason due to poor performance.

7. Harold Castro

  • Season stats: .283/.313/.415 (.728 OPS), 4 home runs, 12 doubles, 9 walks, 40 strikeouts
  • Likelihood of trade: Low

Castro is another potential low-cost bat teams could target at the deadline, mostly because he can play every position (he’s spent time everywhere but catcher and right field for the Tigers this season) and put the ball in play.

Castro is a much more valuable hitter than defender, but managers dealing with injured or slumping players might want to add someone who can provide defensive flexibility.

He’s never going to be much more than a slightly above average player, but Castro has three more years of team control remaining and could be a reliable, cheap bench bat for a contender.

8. Jonathan Schoop

  • Season stats: .207/.240/.307 (.548 OPS), 6 home runs, 15 doubles, 13 walks, 76 strikeouts
  • Likelihood of trade: Very low

Why would any team trade for someone playing as poorly as Schoop? I don’t know, but the Milwaukee Brewers gave the Tigers a decent pitching prospect for Daniel Norris last season, so don’t say it isn’t possible.

Schoop has hit at least 20 home runs in every full season since 2016, and his OPS has only once been below .750 once in that span. There’s a good chance if he’s given a clean slate away from the, ahem, “questionable” hitting coaches in Detroit, he could put together a solid second half.

Detroit Tigers' Jonathan Schoop watches his single during the seventh inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Yankees on Friday, June 3, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Schoop is also having an excellent season defensively. He has a cheap player option for 2023, which could work for or against his trade value, depending on whether teams would actually want him for another year. But the fact that he’s consistently been much, much better than this his entire career could give at least one team faith that he’ll be an asset down the stretch. And one buyer is all it would take to make a deal.

9. Robbie Grossman

  • Season stats: .205/.310/.278 (.588 OPS), 2 home runs, 11 doubles, 35 walks, 85 strikeouts
  • Likelihood of trade: Very low

The argument for Grossman is largely the same as the argument for Schoop: He’s an established, veteran player having a career-worst season. There’s a chance another team’s staff could get him back to being a productive player.

Grossman was a 2.9 WAR guy in 2021, thanks to 23 home runs, 23 doubles, and 20 stolen bases. Even as he struggles this year, his OBP sits at .310. Any positive regression for his batting average would bump him closer to his career .348 OBP.

Grossman is on a $5 million deal this season and then will hit free agency. That, combined with his numbers, would make this a very minor deal for the Tigers. But something is better than nothing.

10. Tucker Barnhart

  • Season stats: .211/.270/.246, 0 home runs, 6 doubles, 14 walks, 54 strikeouts
  • Likelihood of trade: Very, very low

A Barnhart trade would only happen if a contending team becomes very desperate for a backup catcher. He’s not going to hit at all, but he can get to know a pitching staff quickly and handle himself well behind the plate.

Avila should say yes to any offer he gets for Barnhart, because the 31-year-old has already turned over most of his at-bats to the more dangerous Eric Haase in recent weeks.

This type of deal seems extremely unlikely, but think about the Tigers trading for Dustin Garneau near the end of 2021 -- it would require a situation like that.

11. Other long shots

If Michael Pineda or Wily Peralta were healthy, they might have had some minimal value at the deadline for teams needing deep pitching depth or injury insurance.

Jose Cisnero would have been a trade option, but he missed the entire first half and has only thrown two innings this season. It feels like the Tigers would be selling at his lowest value if they moved him right now.

Victor Reyes has a decent hit tool, and Derek Hill has speed and a strong glove. Maybe they would be potential throw-ins since the Tigers don’t seem to have room for them in the future.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.