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.
If #Tigers are still under .500 by end of June, sources say they'll revert to stance from November: All veterans will be available in trade.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 26, 2017
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.