As the trade deadline comes closer with each passing day, teams contending for spots in the playoff are looking for players to plug the holes in their rosters. Most of these teams are looking for more pitchers and quality ones are in short supply this year. Especially when it comes to quality left-handed arms to help in the rotation. The Detroit Tigers find themselves in a good situation, as they are in the middle of a rebuild, and they have one such player in their rotation by the name of Matthew Boyd.
Boyd has never been an outstanding player in the Major League, and he will likely never be the ace of any rotation, but he can be a solid back-end type of pitcher. His career numbers aren’t spectacular, as he has an ERA of 5.08 with 17 wins and 29 losses, and a career strikeout to walk ratio of about two to one. Despite this, Boyd is in the middle of a career year and has a respectable ERA of 4.58 over 92.1 innings pitched this season. His numbers were even better earlier in the season, but he has been roughed up in his last couple of starts. If Boyd can put together one or two more solid starts, then his stock will rise as the market becomes scarcer for rotation help.
The biggest reason why the Tigers would benefit from trading Boyd is that this would allow them to keep Michael Fulmer on the roster, while also still committing to their rebuild. Boyd has never been a potential ace for the team and is not a player for a team to reasonably build around, and Fulmer is. Despite Fulmer’s lackluster performance this year, he has proven that he can lead a rotation with his play through the first half of last season. Trading away Fulmer now in the midst of a struggling season would lead to the Tigers not getting as much in return as they could if they dealt him away when he was having a better season. By trading away Boyd, and keeping Fulmer, the Tigers get some more prospects to help in the long-run, while also giving fans a reason to show up to the ballpark.
Now, what are some teams that could be interested in the lefty? The top candidate right now has to be the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have struggled to get any sort of consistency out of Tyler Chatwood, and Yu Darvish has been injured a majority of this season, and in order to make a serious push for the playoffs, the team needs some depth behind Jon Lester. Though the team could use someone to be a number two pitcher behind Lester, they need more consistency out of their number four and five pitchers in the rotation. Boyd can provide that for the team. In Chicago, Boyd would have a more than capable offense backing him up, so all he needs to do is to go out on the mound every fifth day and pitch a quality start in order to get the win. Boyd provides the consistency that the Cubs need from a back-end starter.
Due to the fact that Boyd is not a top-tier talent, the Tigers can’t expect a giant bounty in return for him. But they can still acquire some prospects from the Cubs that will become solid, if mediocre, players in the majors. Guys like right-handed pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. and Wladmir Galindo would be fantastic prospects for the Tigers to get in return for Boyd. Underwood Jr. has good velocity but struggles to get quality starts, though he still has the talent to become a mid-rotation kind of player. Galindo is already an above-average hitter down in the minors, though he does struggle with fielding over at third base, so if acquired, it may be best to move him to either a designated hitter role or over to first base.
Other potential teams for Boyd include the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Colorado Rockies, and the New York Yankees (if they can’t trade for J.A. Happ).