The Tigers are looking to sell, which means they’ll have their eyes on several top prospects around baseball. Here’s a look at the best they could trade for, starting with … Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers want Price and Urias is one of the top left-handed prospects in baseball, ranked No. 4 on Baseball America’s midseason top 50. But, like any of the top 50 prospects on this list, it’ll take a heck of a bidding war for the Dodgers to want to part with Urias!
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Dave Dombrowski didn’t want to hold up the team bus.
But as the Detroit Tigers filtered through the bowels of Tropicana Field this afternoon, the president and general manager stopped for a few minutes to let reporters know that what has long been speculated is true: The team is open to selling before Friday’s trade deadline.
“I would say that the process of where we are right now, we have to make decisions, and that we’re willing to listen to clubs offers on our free agent players,” Dombrowski said. “When I say that, we’re more in a position where we’re not giving up in the sense that you go out there and try to win every single day but, in our position, we look at it more as a rebooting going into next year.”
With those words, these players are on the trading block: Left-handed ace David Price, leftfielder Yoenis Cespedes, closer Joakim Soria, catcher Alex Avila, right-hander Alfredo Simon and outfielder Rajai Davis, who are all free agents at the end of the season.
“That’s where we’re at at this point in the situation,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski – who is not under contract for next season – began the process of notifying teams following the team’s 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. They are three games under the .500 mark for the season (49-52), a lengthy ways back from the top of the American League Central (12.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals) and an arm’s length away from the league’s second wild-card spot (4 games behind the Minnesota Twins).
Dombrowski said as of that time, the team was not in any active trade negotiations with other teams.
“I have had numerous phone calls from people to see what we are going to do,” Dombrowski said. “We have not done anything as far as telling them anything until after today’s game. So I haven’t had any active discussions other than to let people know that’s where we are.”
Many a postseason contender will be interested in the services of Price, who is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and Cespedes, a force in the outfield. Even more could check in about Soria, a top-notch closer, with many teams in need of relief help.
“We just think it’s a chance at this point – and again, we’re only going to make a trade if it makes sense for us – but it’s a situation where it gives us a chance to restock our club, some of the prospects that we’ve traded away, get some people to reboot and help us there,” Dombrowski said.
The organization is sorely in need of beefing up their frail farm system, which has been thinned by trades in past years.
Dombrowski said the team’s inconsistent play over the course of the first four months of the season pushed the needle in this direction and that he needed to secure the decision with his supervisors – namely owner Mike Ilitch – before starting it in earnest.
“You watch your club play and you give yourself as much time,” he said. “We played well today and we have played well in the past for a game or two and we just haven’t been able to continually go forward.
“It’s not easy for us to do that,” he said, “Because we’ve really been trying to win on a yearly basis and again, stranger things have happened but really, that’s the focus at this point.”
With his words, the Tigers have proverbially waved the white flag on a postseason appearance for the fifth consecutive year. They won the AL Central the past four seasons.
“I think our foundation is pretty solid moving forward, even when we take away our free agent players,” Dombrowski said.
And that foundation – which includes five everyday players age 27 or younger, two of them All-Stars this season – will fatten up in the 48 hours to follow, with the organization likely adding a number of prospects from a pennant contender.
Contact Anthony Fenech: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.
Who’s on the trading block?
David Price: Left-handed starter
$19.75 million salary
9-4, 2.53 ERA
Yoenis Cespedes: Leftfielder
$10.5 million salary
.289, 17 HR, 58 RBIs
Joakim Soria: Right-handed closer
$7 million salary
3-1, 2.85 ERA, 23 saves
Alfredo Simon: Right-handed starter
$5.55 million salary
9-6, 4.46 ERA
Alex Avila: Catcher
$5.4 million salary
.185, 3 HR, 11 RBIs
Rajai Davis: Outfielder
$5 million salary
.254, 14 SB, 12 RBIs