The Detroit Tigers have won the American League Central each of the last four seasons. As of Tuesday, they sit just four games back in the AL Wild Card race.
All that might not matter, though, according to USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale. Citing several people inside the organization, Nightengale reports that, barring a veto from owner Mike Ilitch, the Tigers will become sellers ahead of Major League Baseball’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Detroit plans to put pitcher David Price and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the trade market, according to Nightengale’s sources. When reached for comment Monday, however, president and general manager Dave Dombrowski told USA TODAY Sports nothing is set in stone.
“At this point, our focus is trying to win right now,” Dombrowski said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to qualify for the playoffs. Things can turn dramatically over a 10-game period. But you have to play well, at some point, on a consistent basis.
“We’re at a point where we have to do what’s best in our heart for the franchise.”
That might mean a drastic shift in philosophy for a team that’s won at least 85 games in seven of the last nine seasons.
Fortunes appear to be turning in Detroit, though, as the Tigers are 46-46 as of Tuesday, a distant 9 1/2 games back of the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central. Miguel Cabrera still is on the shelf with a calf injury, and 32-year-old Justin Verlander has struggled mightily since returning from injury this season.
All signs point toward the aging Tigers joining the ranks of baseball’s sellers, as Price and Cespedes could yield solid returns. But for a team that reached the World Series just three seasons ago, it’s a surprise nonetheless.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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