At the start of the season, southpaw Tarik Skubal was perhaps the Tigers’ biggest bright spot, producing a 2.33 ERA in his first 11 starts. He then struggled for five outings before recovering in his last three. Yet even with several other young Tigers starters on the injured list, the team is ready to trade him, according to rival executives at several clubs.
The Tigers “gave us coverage that almost everyone is available,” an official said. Another speculated that the Tigers are trying to be opportunistic and get a big return for Skubal from teams that could hit Reds’ Luis Castillo and Athletics’ Frankie Montas, the best starting pitchers known to be available.
Tigers general manager Al Avila declined to comment.
It’s uncertain whether the Tigers would trade Skubal, given their own rotational needs as they head into their sixth straight losing season. But like many teams, they are open to considering any deal that could help them improve. And they entered Tuesday averaging 3.22 points per game in the major leagues.
The Dodgers, Cardinals and other contenders aren’t the only teams in the market to start pitching. Postseason longshots such as the Rangers and Orioles want to add rotational help for 2023 and beyond. The Tigers, meager in everyday position players, could use Skubal and many of their relievers as a vehicle to acquire more talent.
Castillo and Montas, both 29, are under club control until 2023. Skubal, 25, is more than a year away from qualifying for wage arbitration and under club control until 2023. in 2026. And at various times in the future, the Tigers expect their injured young starters – Beau Brieske (arm pain), Alex Faedo (hip), Matt Manning (shoulder inflammation) and Casey Mize and Spencer Turnbull (both in Tommy John surgery) – to return.
If the Tigers don’t get an offer they deem acceptable for Skubal, they can still move multiple relievers — Andrew Chafin, Michael Fulmer, Joe Jiménez and closer two-time All-Star Gregory Soto. None of their position players would think of bringing a solid return.
AthleticismCody Stavenhagen contributed to this story.
(Picture: Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today Sports)
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