The Detroit Tigers set a goal this offseason: To get younger and leaner salary-wise by trading some of their more expensive veterans. So far, they’ve been driving a very hard bargain, not exactly asking for what potential trade partners are calling reasonable demands.
The Tigers see J.D. Martinez as the premier movable chip this offseason, with the Los Angeles Dodgers showing interest in the player. Ian Kinsler is another player they would like to trade, but he has a no-trade clause. One of the teams interested him in are the Dodgers, but the situation is obviously complicated, with the Tigers not having too much leverage in this situation.
Besides the two mentioned players, the Tigers are also open to offers for Justin Verlander and even Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. The problem there is that they have a full no-trade clause (Kinsler can block trades to 10 teams). And even if the no-trade clause isn’t getting in the way, the Tigers seem to be asking for quite a lot. They have a postseason’ish-caliber team right now, and they don’t want to break it up completely. However, it’s not that easy moving veterans with hefty commitments on their deals.
Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton have no-trade clauses as well. Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey and Mark Lowe don’t have the veto power to block any trades, but they’re coming off so-so seasons at best, which makes it for a not-so welcoming market. Francisco Rodriguez is another player the Tigers are willing to move if the right offer comes along, but so far there’s no chatter about the team’s closer getting dealt somewhere else.
Maybe it’s only a matter of time. Free agency is only just beginning, and once bigger names are taken off the board, the Tigers will make it easier to deal with them and teams will become more driven to land specific players. Someone will be traded, but right now all the talk about becoming younger and more cost-effective isn’t translating into actual trades or even coming close.