Meet the Sellers: Detroit Tigers
11 months ago
After signing Jaiver Baez, you’d expect the Detroit Tigers to be good.
They are not.
Looking at the 2022 Tigers Baseball Reference page, they only have three players with an OPS+ of over 100, one of these players we’ll be looking at.
Their strength lies in pitching, more specifically, the bullpen. For example, 27-year-old closer Gregory Soto has really emerged as one of the best in the American League. He has a 2.05 ERA and 3.82 FIP.
The two other players we’ll be looking at are relievers with pretty strong numbers as well.
Let’s start with the position player…
Austin Meadows is a 27-year-old left handed outfielder. In my opinion, his acquisition cost would be quite high, but that is due to his past performances and contract.
Fun fact: He was part of the absolute steal of a trade, in which the Rays sent Chris Archer to the Pirates for Tyler Glasnow, Pipeline’s #12 prospect Shane Baz and Meadows himself.
This season, Meadows is slashing .252/.348/.330 with no homers in 132 plate appearances. His wRC+ sits at a rather low 103, but he’s done a fantastic job of not striking out (only 12.9% of the time), while walking 10.6% of the time.
Last season with the Rays, he slashed .234/.315/.458 with 27 homers in 591 plate appearances. He also kept the K% down to 20.6% while his BB% was a solid 10%. He finished 2021 with a wRC+ of 113.
His career best season was in 2019 with the Rays, where he slashed .291/.364/.558 with a wRC+ of 144 in 591 plate appearances. He had a BB% of 9.1% and K% of 22.2% and made his first career all-star appearance.
Defensively, he’s nothing special. He’s played the corner outfield positions for the majority of his career, compiling a -9 Defensive Runs Saved at the two positions. However, in left field, he has a +3 for his career.
In terms of Outs Above Average, he also has a -9 in his time at the corners, although he’s only at -1 for his career in left field.
This season, he is posting a DRS of +3 between the two positions, including a +2 at right field. His OAA sits at -1.
Meadows missed nearly a month due to vertigo, but has featured in every game versus the Blue Jays.
When looking at his statistics, Meadows has been a slightly above average hitter for the past three seasons. However, Meadows’ team control is what really boosts his value.
This season, Meadows is making $4 million, which is great value for the type of player he is. With that being said, Meadows has two more seasons of arbitration, meaning he won’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season, where he’ll be 30-years-old.
If he was to be traded on July 31st, his value resides in his all-star 2019 season as well as his 2 and a half seasons of team control.
Much like Andrew Benintendi, who we covered in the last “Meet the Sellers”, Austin Meadows is a left handed batting slugger. Also like Benintendi, Meadows would be an upgrade over both Ramiel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer.
If the Jays were to get Meadows, I could see him playing in a platoon role with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. I’d also argue that one of those two players could plug in at first base if needed.
Michael Fulmer is the only other player I could see the Tigers trading.
Originally a starter, he posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.71 FIP in 323.2 innings pitched in 2016 and 2017. He showed amazing control with a BB/9 of 2.3, and was even an all-star in 2017.
Fulmer struggled in his next two seasons, where he posted a 5.40 ERA and 4.93 FIP in 160 innings. Furthermore, his BB/9 increased to 3.3. This led to a move to the bullpen, which Fulmer has benefited from a lot.
In 2021, he had a 2.97 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 69.2 innings pitched.. Furthermore, his K/9 increased to 9.43 which was by far a career high (previous high was 7.48). His BB/9 dropped back down to 2.58 and he finished with an fWAR of 1.6.
This season, he has posted a 2.45 ERA and 3.05 FIP in 22 innings pitched. His K/9 increased again to 9.82, but his BB/9 is at 4.09, the highest mark of his career.
According to baseball savant, he throws his slider 58% of the time at 91 miles per hour (well above average.) He throws a fastball at 94 mph 31% of the time. However, Fangraphs notes he has a sinker and four seamer, nearly an identical amount.
Fulmer also has both a changeup (8% at 86 mph) and curveball (4% at 78%).
Unlike Meadows, Fulmer will be a free agent at the end of the season. He’s currently making $4,950,000. Furthermore, if he’s re-signed, the Jays could look to try him as a starter again with the wisdom of Pete Walker.
Due to Fulmer being a free agent, his value is somewhat diminished due to the uncertainty of whether or not he’d re-sign with the team that trades for him. The Jays should look into the 29-year-old, if not at the trade deadline, then during free agency.
Absolutely. Fulmer has pitched 8.1 innings in high leverage and batters are only averaging .074 against him. He’s putting up great numbers, and with the guidance of Pete Walker, that BB/9 could drop to Fulmer’s career average.
Fulmer is definitely a reliever the Jays should be looking at.
I was originally just going to write about Austin Meadows and Michael Fulmer, but Andrew Chafin deserves a mention.
Chafin has only started three games in his 9-year career. He has always been a reliever, and a pretty darn good one at that.
For his career, he has a 3.27 ERA and 3.13 FIP in 357.2 innings pitched. His career K/9 is at a rather high 9.34 while his BB/9 sits at 3.55, rather good numbers.
This season, he has a 2.51 ERA and 1.95 FIP in 14.1 innings pitched with a K/9 of 10.05 and BB/9 of 2.51.
Chafin is a lefty with two pitches, a fastball he throws 68% of the time at an average of 90 mph and a slider he throws 31% of the time at 82 mph.
This season, the soon-to-be-32-year-old is making $5,500,000. He also has a player option for the 2023 season. Chafin is a pretty good high leverage reliever on a rather team friendly deal.
The Jays currently have only one reliever in their bullpen (Tim Mayza). Chafin pitches in mainly low leverage, as 7 of his 14.1 innings have come in that role. After the Ryan Borucki trade, the Jays are lacking a lefty specialist, and Andrew Chafin could fit that role.
Are the Tigers an ideal trading partner:
The Jays will likely look to add another bullpen piece. I believe Michael Fulmer is the best option, but perhaps the Jays could make a Troy Tulowitzki-esque deal and also trade for Meadows?
Either way, I believe the Tigers are an ideal trade partner.
Previously in the Series….
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. Next up will be the Orioles, due to the fact that they are the Blue Jays next opponents.
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