Now that the non-waiver deadline has passed, we’re taking a look back at what each team was able to accomplish before 4 p.m. ET on July 31. Next up in our recap series is the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit Tigers (51-59), 8.5 GB in AL Central, 6 GB in AL Wild Card
ACQUIRED: 1B/3B Jeimer Candelario (from CHC), SS Isaac Paredes (from CHC), INF Dawel Lugo (from ARZ), INF Sergio Alcantara (from ARZ), INF Jose King (from ARZ)
TRADED: OF J.D. Martinez (to ARZ), LHP Justin Wilson (to CHC), C Alex Avila (to CHC)
We thought the Tigers would embark on a rebuild last winter, but the club only shipped Cameron Maybin out of town in a relatively quiet offseason. After posting a 39-48 record in the first half, Detroit finally decided to start selling key pieces, making many available in advance of the deadline.
General manager Al Avila was able to move three key pieces -- J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson and his own son, Alex Avila. Conversely, he wasn’t able to move Justin Verlander, Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, Anibal Sanchez or anyone else, making the July trade period just the first step in what may be a long rebuilding process for Detroit.
Martinez, the top bat available this year, hit the trade market at the absolute wrong time. He was a rental at a time when tons of outfielders were available and no one needed them. Talk about tough luck for Avila.
Avila found a suitor for Martinez shortly after the break, trading him to Arizona for three infield prospects. Though the return didn’t impress many, seeing the rest of the market shake out with only nominal interest in position players makes the addition of Dawel Lugo to a weak farm system commendable.
The real prize of deadline season for Detroit is corner infielder Jeimer Candelario, who some rank among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Candelario was the center-piece of the deal that sent Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs, filling both of Chicago’s remaining needs as they look to defend their world championship. The Tigers’ decision to move Wilson for a top-100 prospect looked even better 24 hours after the move, when the Zach Britton and Brad Hand, the other top available relievers, were still with their clubs when the deadline passed.
Moving Martinez and Alex Avila (both rentals) and Wilson (who drew strong interest) is the first step in what may turn out to be a painful process for Detroit. The club’s farm system hasn’t been strong in years, at least partially due to the club’s win-now attitude that has forced major free-agent signings and trades over the last few years. This winter, the Tigers are expected to make more moves, potentially shopping Verlander, Iglesias and even Michael Fulmer, who would fetch an insane return.
For a complete list of our trade deadline recaps, click here.