4 players Tigers must trade ahead of 2022 MLB trade deadline

The Detroit Tigers have some young talent breaking through in the big leagues, but the unfortunate reality is that the franchise still seems a couple of years away from contending for the playoffs. It’s been a long, slow rebuild in Detroit, but making big moves at the 2022 MLB trade deadline could give the franchise the spark it needs in order to accelerate the process.

With a handful of tradeable assets, the Tigers should actively be shopping some of their veterans at the trade deadline in order to buff up their farm system with near-MLB-ready players. After signing Javier Baez to a multi-year contract, in a decision that seems pretty questionable in hindsight given his struggles, the Tigers will likely be aiming to become competitive before long, so they will be looking for young assets who can make an impact within a couple of years.

In order to get that type of asset, the Tigers will need to be willing to pay up, and that means cutting ties with some important players, particularly out of the bullpen.

Without further ado, here are four players the Tigers must trade at the 2022 MLB trade deadline.

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4 Players Tigers Must Trade At 2022 MLB Trade Deadline

4. Andrew Chafin

Andrew Chafin has been one of baseball’s best relief pitchers over the past few years, despite having bounced around from franchise to franchise. Through 28 appearances this year, Chafin has thrown 23.2 innings, registering a pristine 2.66 ERA. Somehow, that’s significantly worse than the 1.53 ERA he recorded in Oakland last season. Chafin’s fanned 30 batters on the year and walked just 7, proving to still be a reliable option in high-leverage situations.

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At 32 years old, Chafin does not fit into Detroit’s rebuilding timeline. While he could be a reliable veteran arm for the Tigers when they do begin to compete in a couple of seasons, the return the Tigers could get on him is likely too good to pass up. His value is at its highest right now, and the Tigers, who are already 15 games below .500, should absolutely look to flip him for the best possible package.

3. Austin Meadows

The Rays surprisingly traded Meadows to the Tigers in exchange for Isaac Paredes. So far, the return for Detroit has been practically non-existent. Meadows has featured in just 36 games for the Tigers and has been sidelines due to complications with the rare condition vertigo. When active, Meadows has been a solid producer for the Tigers, slashing .250/.347/.328. The power hasn’t been there, as he failed to hit a single home run, but he’s a patient hitter, having drawn 16 walks and struck out just 17 times.

Meadows is still only 27, so he would reasonably fit into Detroit’s future. That said, if his vertigo doesn’t figure to be a long-term issue, Meadows would likely command a significant prospect haul in trade talks. In his last two full seasons, 2019 and 2021, Meadows launched 33 and 27 home runs respectively, which suggests the lack of power displayed early on in Detroit is likely a fluke.

2. Jonathan Schoop

At 30 years old, Jonathan Schoop doesn’t figure to stick around in Detroit far beyond the 2022 season. While he signed a two-year deal with the team, the additional year of team control could be dangled as a means of securing a better haul in a trade. Schoop will make $7.5 million next season, so not every team will be willing to absorb his contract, but he’s an experienced slugger who could help bolster most infield, whether as an everyday player or a depth piece.

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His .207/.238/.323 slash-line leaves a bit to be desired, but Schoop still has plenty of pop, evidenced by his 22-home run campaign last season. The whole Tigers offense has slumped this season, and Schoop is no exception, but teams will look beyond the 76-game sample size this season when sizing up a prospective deal for the veteran infielder.

1. Michael Fulmer

The Tigers could be starring at a complete bullpen teardown at the trade deadline. Almost every reliever could reasonably be dealt by the end of the month, but there may not be a more valuable asset on the Tigers’ roster than Fulmer. The 29-year-old has excelled since transitioning into a relief role. He boasts a sterling 2.10 ERA on the season and has surrendered just 1 home run throughout his first 30 appearances.

While he doesn’t rack up strikeouts, Fulmer rarely allows hard contact. That type of safety net in the bullpen is incredibly valuable, and teams will be willing to pony up a sizeable package of prospects to land Fulmer at the deadline. If Detroit doesn’t trade Fulmer this month, they’re making a crucial mistake, as his value is sky high and he’s a fit on various contending teams.

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