The Boston Red Sox should keep tabs on the Detroit Tigers over the next week.
All signs point toward the Tigers selling before the Aug. 2 Major League Baseball trade deadline, and Detroit has several players who could interest Boston, in some cases regardless of whether the Red Sox become full-blown buyers with an eye toward contending for a World Series title in 2022.
The Tigers “gave us a blanket that just about everyone is available,” an official told The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
It’s been a tough season in the Motor City, where the Tigers entered Wednesday in last place in the American League Central. The Red Sox, meanwhile, trail the New York Yankees by a wide margin in the AL East but remain in the wild-card race and conceivably could look to add external reinforcements, perhaps preferring those under club control through 2023 and potentially beyond.
So, let’s explore eight Tigers players the Red Sox theoretically could target in the coming days.
Tarik Skubal, LHP
Rival executives with multiple clubs told Rosenthal the Tigers are willing to trade Skubal. ESPN’s Jeff Passan even heard Wednesday from multiple GMs who said they expect Skubal to be dealt. This is a fascinating new deadline wrinkle, as the 25-year-old southpaw has a ton of upside and is controllable through the 2026 campaign. Acquiring him would mean landing a potential rotation stalwart, provided he pitches like he did earlier this season. Skubal went 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA, a 2.08 FIP and 70 strikeouts across his first 11 starts (65 2/3 innings).
The problem? The price for Skubal would be “exorbitant,” wrote Passan. So, the Red Sox would need to relinquish multiple high-end prospects to pull off a deal. Do they have the stomach for that?
Gregory Soto, LHP
Soto, a two-time All-Star, might be the second-most attractive piece the Tigers have to offer. He’s 27, under team control through 2025 and can reach back for triple-digits. Between his fastball velocity and his wipeout slider, Soto is a classic power arm whose stuff plays at the back end of the bullpen. He’d fill a need for the Red Sox, both now and for the next three seasons.
Andrew Chafin, LHP
Chafin signed a two-year, $13 million contract with Detroit back in March and has more than met expectations, entering Wednesday with a 2.64 ERA, a 2.21 FIP and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings across 36 relief appearances (30 2/3 innings). His situation is somewhat complicated, because he can opt out of his deal and test free agency again this winter. But the 32-year-old is really good.
Joe Jiménez, RHP
Jiménez has had both highs and lows over the course of his six-year career in Detroit, but he’s peaking at the right time for the Tigers. He’s a legitimate late-inning force who throws hard, pounds the strike zone and boasts a high whiff rate. Not to mention, he’s just 27 with another year of team control.
Michael Fulmer, RHP
Fulmer, a starter-turned-reliever, is a pure rental, which could limit his appeal to the Red Sox if they continue their losing ways. Still, he’s worth noting, as someone who almost certainly will be traded and who probably can be attained at a reasonable price point.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Schoop has topped the 20-homer mark five times, most recently in 2021 and most notably in 2017, when he totaled 32 dingers, 105 RBIs and an .841 OPS in an All-Star season with the Baltimore Orioles. The offense hasn’t been there in 2022, but the 30-year-old has compensated for the lack of production with excellent glove work. He has a $7.5 million player option for 2023. Pairing him with Trevor Story up the middle — if Xander Bogaerts walks in free agency — would make for a solid defensive tandem.
Harold Castro, Utility
We know Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom values defensive versatility. And Castro, a 28-year-old under club control through 2025, has experience at every position other than catcher. He’s a solid bench piece.
Eric Haase, C/OF
Christian Vázquez’s impending free agency is an underrated storyline in Boston. Haase would be an imperfect replacement given his defensive shortcomings behind the dish, but he’s an intriguing puzzle piece based on his right-handed power and ability to play the outfield, as well. The 29-year-old is under contract through 2026.