Near the top of the American League are the Detroit Tigers. A perennial World Series contender, they still do have their weaknesses that they have yet to fix during their current run at the top. Meanwhile in the National League the Philadelphia Phillies are banging on the ceiling as the rest of the league passes over them.
Despite traveling in different directions these two teams can help each other out in 2014. The Tigers need what the Phillies have and the Phillies could benefit from what the Tigers have yet to fully use.
The two players the Phillies absolutely should trade to the Tigers are Jonathan Papelbon and Jimmy Rollins. Closer Joe Nathan has been terrible for the Tigers; a common theme in the organization the past few years to have an open door in the ninth inning with no one to close it. While this would be an expensive undertaking, having Nathan and Papelbon in the bullpen together, it is only temporary. There’s always the option of trading Nathan following the 2014 season or Papelbon if things don’t quite work out. Whatever they eventually do, the Tigers are in desperate need of a closer.
The other player on the Phillies the Tigers could use, Rollins, would fill the void at shortstop. Jose Iglesias’s season-ending injury before it even started has handicapped them into throwing out whoever they can. Now that Rollins has become the all-time hits leader for the Phillies it will be easier to part with him. He may not be one of the best anymore, but his defense remains stellar and he can at the very least add experience and an only at worst slightly below batting average.
What the Phillies get back from the Tigers is the trickiest part of all. In many cases this is the deal with trading veterans for prospects. Based on the current needs of the Phillies, just about anyone on the Tigers’ roster would be on their list of desirables.
From the pitching staff the only realistic possibility would be obtaining one of the relief pitchers. Joba Chamberlain and Al Albuquerque are both still under 30, meaning by the time the Phillies are good again they might be around. The starting rotation is basically untouchable for now, especially considering Max Scherzer will probably walk. Triple A player Robbie Ray would be a nice piece to develop since the limited time he has spent in the big leagues have not been a complete travesty.
Of the hitters the Phillies could realistically get in return for Papelbon and Rollins, J.D. Martinez is probably the only player worth it. A young outfielder who has hit very well in the minor leagues, Martinez could easily become a starting outfielder for the Phillies within the next two seasons. Nick Castellanos is another player the Phillies would want, although with no replacement at third base the Tigers would be foolish to let him go so easily.
If desperate enough for an immediate solution to their weaknesses, the Tigers may be willing to trade away one of their top prospects. Many are pitchers and as any baseball fan knows this is incredibly difficult to predict. The team does however have several middle infielders, something the Phillies will be in desperate need of if J.P. Crawford does not meet expectations. The Tigers also have a catcher named James McCann in Triple A. Considering the Phillies’ minor league system is vacant of replacements for Carlos Ruiz he could end up a big target in the trade.
Endless possibilities on how both teams can improve, it’s important they begin talking now.
More from this contributor:
Three Players the Philadelphia Phillies Should Trade in 2014
Players Who Could be Traded at the 2014 Trade Deadline
Three Players the Texas Rangers Should Trade for in 2014