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Yankees potential trade partner: Detroit Tigers

The Yankees are scouting Michael Fulmer, but who else do the Tigers have to offer?

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Yankees are conducting an exhaustive search for help at this summer’s trade deadline. Brian Cashman explained to reporters that he reached out to over 20 teams about potentials last month alone. If a team isn’t in a playoff position right now, Cashman probably called them to see if there’s a match.

The Detroit Tigers stand out as one potential trade partner. We know that the Yankees are scouting staff ace Michael Fulmer, but that deserves a more detailed analysis. Pinstripe Alley will cover Fulmer in the coming weeks. For now, it makes sense to examine the other pieces Al Avila has to offer.

As for starting pitching, Matt Boyd represents the best of the rest for the Tigers. The 27-year-old has pitched to a 4.58 ERA over 92.1 innings in 2018. His peripherals aren’t much better either, with a 4.29 FIP and 7.70 K/9 rate.

In a mailbag post last month, I addressed Boyd as a potential trade candidate. I found his declining velocity troubling, but he attributed that to a deliberate attempt to change speeds. Needless to say, the results aren’t there. Boyd does come with control, as he isn’t arbitration eligible until 2020. That has value! I’m not sure the southpaw represents enough of an upgrade for the Yankees, though.

One area the Tigers can help, however, is in the bullpen. The Yankees are said to be exploring left-handed relievers, particularly Zach Britton and Brad Hand. If nothing comes together on those fronts, they could check in on veteran southpaw Francisco Liriano. While he’s worked as a starter, Liriano has made some notable postseason relief appearances.

The 34-year-owns a 4.74 ERA (5.33 FIP) across 14 starts. That’s not good at all, but consider his platoon splits. Liriano has held left-handed batters to a .091/.206/.200 line with just two home runs. He’s still nails against lefty bats. The price tag on him shouldn’t be as high as those for Hand and Britton, too.

The Yankees could also check in on a familiar face in Shane Greene. The 29-year-old hasn’t pitched especially well, running up a 4.03 ERA (4.25 FIP) over 38 innings. He’s currently on the mend from a bout of shoulder inflammation, having thrown a bullpen earlier in the week. Ineffective and injured — that’s a bad combination! If nothing else, Cashman loves bringing back old friends in the bullpen. Think of David Robertson, Tyler Clippard, and even Phil Coke. The Yankees are probably better off with the internal options, though.

Outside of Fulmer, the Yankees and Tigers don’t match up especially well. I’m intrigued by Liriano as a left-handed reliever, but that’s about the extent of it. Sometimes a seller just doesn’t have the pieces you want.