Despite recent reports that the Tigers are looking to sell key pieces like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes at the upcoming trade deadline, the team may actually look to contend this season. A source close to the team told SB Nation's Bless You Boys that the Tigers are "all in" as they approach the trade deadline and will be deadline buyers.
This may not be the case, though. A source close to the Tigers said that they are "all in" and will be looking to buy at the trade deadline. With the top-end talent up and down their roster, the Tigers could be one or two savvy moves away from storming back into the playoff hunt. There are only two teams between them and the current wild card holders, both of whom are outperforming preseason expectations. If the Tigers can find a way into the playoffs, their biggest weaknesses -- the back of the rotation and middle relief -- can be marginalized if their stars come through.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported this morning that the Tigers have not yet made a decision on whether they will buy or sell at the deadline, meaning that their play over the next couple of days will dictate their strategy.
Detroit has been aggressive in recent years with the acquisitions of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Price, Cespedes and many others, with many critics pointing to aging owner Mike Ilitch's desire to win a championship as the driving factor. Though that may sound cliche, the team could look to make a move to spring itself back into a wide-open playoff race before stars like Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Victor Martinez age.
If the Tigers do decide to be buyers, bullpen is an obvious area that needs improvement. The team is known to be in on Rockies' closer John Axford, though they could look at Aroldis Chapman (Reds) or Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies) as well. They could add a starter like Scott Kazmir (Athletics) or Johnny Cueto (Reds), or look to add one of the many bats that is currently available. At this point, it seems as though the Tigers' decision on their deadline strategy is one of the most important factors in how the market develops with just ten days to go before the trade deadline.