Matthew Boyd is off to a superb start on a Detroit Tigers team that owns the worst record in MLB (11-24). Let’s connect the dots. The southpaw is a prime candidate to be on the move ahead of the MLB trade deadline.
The 30-year-old, who owns a 1.94 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP across his first seven starts this season, is under contract through the 2022 season. He can be an arm that lifts a contender or provides a team on the cusp of playoff contention with an arm that can get them over the hump.
Here are three teams that should trade for Matthew Boyd.
3. Atlanta Braves fortify rotation, trade for Matthew Boyd
Rotation shortcomings have hindered the Braves in recent memory. With that said, it looked like they could become a stable unit this season, as they have a wealth of talented young pitchers. On the contrary, their rotation has been a mess.
Outside of Huascar Ynoa’s heroics and Ian Anderson’s plausible start, manager Brian Snitker is holding his breath with this rotation. Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly and Bryse Wilson have all been hit hard and struggled to provide extended innings. Max Fried, the team’s 2020 ace, owns a whopping 8.44 ERA across four starts. The Braves won’t win the National League East, let alone the NL pennant with their rotation performing the way it has thus far.
Boyd would be a midseason enhancer.
He’s accustomed to striking out hitters at a high rate and has found success with a consistent three-pitch arsenal (fastball, changeup and slider). In the short term, Boyd provides the Braves with someone to take the hill every fifth day to give their buzzing offense a chance to be victorious. Long term, Mike Soroka could return at some point this season from his Achilles tendon injury, and it’s fair to expect one of the team’s struggling starters to right the ship.
The Braves are trying to break through. Boyd strengthens a vital part of their roster.
2. Los Angeles Angels are in need of rotation help
The Angels’ rotation is set, but it has also come out of the gate slow – again. Griffin Canning has slumped, offseason pickups Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana have been shaky and Dylan Bundy has been unable to build on his standout 2020 campaign.
It has been Shohei Ohtani wowing on the hill for five innings and then going yard at the plate. That’s about it. Boyd would give the Angels a better chance of winning the American League West or, at the very least, claiming one of the two wildcard spots.
Boyd would instantly be manager Joe Maddon’s best true starter (someone who pitches and doesn’t hit against AL competition). He’s efficient, has shown an ability to start for an entire season and is currently throwing the best baseball of his big-league career.
The AL West can be had. Los Angeles entered this season with the chance to benefit from the division’s patchy standing if its rotation answered the bell. To date, it has not. If it means cutting ties with Cobb or Quintana or moving them to the bullpen for the sake of adding Boyd, it’s worth the price of admission.
At some point, the Angels have to capitalize on their high-octane offense, That starts with better performance on the hill. This season has been more of the same. Acquiring a top-of-the-rotation arm can change their fortunes.
1. Toronto Blue Jays build a big three with Matthew Boyd
The Blue Jays are supposed to be the next big thing in the American League. Are they a good team that can cause problems? Yes, they are. Are they an AL pennant threat? They are not, and that’s due to their pitching staff. Boyd is the ideal midseason pickup for the Blue Jays.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is an ace and Robbie Ray is off to an encouraging start. The rest of manager Charlie Montoyo’s rotation is a could-be or what-if. Steven Matz has struggled to keep runners off the base-paths. Ross Stripling has struggled mightily. Youngster Anthony Kay has been rocked. Veteran Tanner Roark was recently designated for assignment.
This pitching staff is reliant on veterans like Ray returning to their old form and youngsters like Matz and Kay taking the next step to become rotation pillars. Both occurrences are a lot to ask for. The Blue Jays have been relatively conservative with using their farm system in trades, therefore possessing the ammunition to pry Boyd away from the Tigers.
A great deal of a team’s top prospects won’t pan out to be franchise players. Fortunately for Toronto, they have hit it big on essentially every one of their position players. Complementing their positional core with a valuable rotation takes the organization to the next level.
Sure, the Blue Jays are taking a leap of faith in the 2021 version of Matthew Boyd or at least something close to it continuing to pitch at a high level. For their sake, it’s a risk worth taking. The talent is there with Boyd, and he can make effective use of his arsenal on a team that’s some fine-tuning away from being a force to be reckoned with.