Tigers to reportedly sell off veterans if they don’t turn it around

Entering play on May 26, the Detroit Tigers sit at 22-24. If a turnaround does not happen in the near future, the Tigers may look a lot different at year’s end.

According to a report from Jon Morosi, Detroit has given itself until the end of June to get a winning record. If that doesn’t happen, any and all veterans could be on the move.

Of course, in some cases, trades will be easier said than done.

Ace pitcher Justin Verlander, for example, has a no-trade clause in his contract. Miguel Cabrera has no such clause, but his 10-and-5 rights (which Verlander also has) gives him the same protection. The same is true for veteran DH Victor Martinez.

Now, those are non issues if the players agree to a deal involving them. If the Tigers are looking to rebuild, veteran players like that would likely be willing to go to a contender.

The next problem, then, becomes the salaries. Sticking with those examples, Verlander is owed $28 million in both 2018 and 2019, and could be owed $22 million in 2020, depending on how he pitches in 2019. Cabrera is owed $30 million a year through 2021, $32 million in 2022 and 2023 and has $30 million options in both 2024 and 2025. Martinez’s salary is more manageable ($18 million in 2018), but that’s still a lot for a player in his late 30’s who doesn’t do any more than DH and occasionally play first base.

If the Tigers have a bad month, these are some of the names we’ll hear heading into the trade deadline. But dealing them will not be easy for Detroit.