By: Noah Wright
It’s well known the Tigers are looking to trade lefty starter Matt Boyd. It's also well known their asking price is very high, but in a recent report, it seems they’re asking price may have risen. According to Jon Heyman the Tigers are trying to fetch an “established young MLB star” for Boyd. Now that’s an insanely high asking price for Boyd.
Now sure, Boyd is having a solid 2019. He is pitching to a 4.13 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and 1.133 WHIP through 120 innings. A lot of his good work came out of the beginning of the season when he owned a 2.85 ERA, and .614 opponent OPS through his first 72 and two thirds innings of 2019. His strikeout rate is through the roof at 12.0, while he has walked just 1.8 batters per 9. That has resulted in a league high 6.67 K/BB ratio. Another notable aspect of his stats is his 3.22 SIERA. Boyd is also inducing many more ground balls. Last year, his GB% was just 29.0%. This year, it has jumped to 36.5%. However the season hasn’t been without its flaws. For one, Boyd has given up 21 home runs. 21 home runs in a fairly pitcher friendly park, and against a division with only a handful of big power hitters is a bit worrisome. Boyd has also seen his hard contact rise to 40.1% (37.5% last year), while his soft contact % has dropped to 16.9% (19.3% last year). Plus, this is Boyd’s first season where he hasn’t looked like a backend starter most of the time. From 2016 to 2018, Boyd posted a 4.72 ERA, 4.54 FIP, and 1.324 WHIP with a 2.64 K/BB ratio. Since the beginning of June though, he seems to have regressed, a lot. In his psat 47 and a third innings, Boyd has given up 32 earned runs (6.08 ERA), while surrendering an opponent OPS of .872. But, Boyd is still controllable through arbitration until 2022, and is just 28 years old.
In short, they are asking a king's ransom for a middle of the rotation starter, and unless a team gets extremely, extremely desperate, they’re not going to give up an “established young MLB star” for Boyd. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to get something back for Boyd. I still think that they can fetch a top 100 prospect for him. For example, the Rays could use another starter to back Charlie Morton and Yonny Chirinos. One target I could see them try and pry away from the Rays is middle infielder Vidal Brujan. The 21 year old has produced a .294/.357/.401 line in 281 PA’s split between High-A ball, and Double-A. However, his biggest tool is his speed and fielding MLB.com gives him 70 run, 55 arm, and 55 fielding ratings. Plus with shortstop Wander Franco (MLB.com’s #1 prospect), 2019 Rookie Of The Year candidate 2B Brandon Lowe, youngster Willy Adames manning a solid shortstop in the MLB, and 2018 standout 2B Joey Wendle, Brujan is kind of expendable. He is the 78th best prospect according to MLB.com, and the Tigers might also be able to net another mid-level prospect like Anthony Banda, or former top 30 prospect Jose De Leon in the trade as well.
Another team that might show interest in Boyd with many young players is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have a myriad of young, and controllable arms they could deal for Boyd. One I could see the Braves looking to shop at the deadline is righty Touki Touissant. While Toussaint might be having a bad 2019, he showed a lot of promise in 2018 as a 22 year old. Along with Touissaint, the Braves could throw in lefties Luiz Gohara, a hard throwing starter with a plus slider and plus plus fastball who I could see being an extremely dominant late inning arm, or Kolby Allard, a soft tosser with decent control.
By the deadline, they’re definitely going to have to lower their asking price by the deadline, unless they want to trade him during the off season. I do not see too many teams too willing to give up an already proven young big leaguer for Boyd. Maybe the Yankees and Miguel Andujar, but even that might be a stretch. However, I still think the Tigers can net a top 100 prospect for the lefty.