left-handed tigers Scuba jumper left last night’s start against the Twins after five shutout innings and just 77 pitches, prompting immediate speculation given his recent appearance in the rumor mill. Instead, the Tigers announced that Skubal suffered from ‘arm fatigue’. The southpaw played down the seriousness of the problem, telling reporters that he plans to make his next start. That, it seems, will definitely come in a Tigers uniform, as Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reports that the organization has decided that Skubal won’t be moved by today’s deadline at 6 p.m. ET. However, they could potentially listen to offers on him again this winter, according to Petzold.
It’s unclear whether the Tigers had made up their minds before Skubal’s last outing or if the decision stemmed from other clubs now surely being a little wary of Skubal’s immediate prospects. A trade always seemed like a long shot anyway, as Skubal still has four seasons of club control remaining and has been pitching pretty well in 2022. In 112 2/3 innings, the former top prospect has achieved a 3 ERA .67 with a 24.7% strikeout rate, 6.6% walk rate and 46.6% rush rate.
For a lost Tigers club Casey Mize at Tommy John surgery and saw Matt Manning struggling with shoulder issues this season, trading Skubal would only further cloud the immediate prospects of their rotation. Surely they would have needed multiple MLB-ready pieces with even greater club control than Skubal has, but a team parting ways with that kind of package now seems almost impossible to imagine.
Instead, Tuesday will likely see the Tigers focus on finding deals for members of their quietly strong bullpen. SNY’s Andy Martino tweets that the Mets were looking straight Michael Fulmer and left-handed Andre Chafinwho can both become free agents at the end of the season (Chafin via a player option).
[Related: Tigers Trade Robbie Grossman to Braves]
Interestingly, however, Petzold suggests that if Chafin stays with the Tigers, he’s likely to exercise that player option due to Detroit’s relative proximity to his family in Ohio. If another club were to acquire Chafin, they may well turn down the option, leading to a disconnect in perceived value. If the Tigers view him as likely to stay beyond the current season, but interested parties effectively view him as a hire, it may be difficult to line up on a return that both teams deem fair.
Elsewhere in the bullpen, Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic reports that opposing clubs were unwilling to muster the type of prospects the Tigers were looking for at the right-hander. Joe Jimenezwhich is under the control of the club throughout the 2023 season. The 27-year-old right-hander finally enjoys the long-awaited breakout the organization has been hoping for, throwing 40 innings on the ball 2.93 ERA with a massive strikeout rate 35% against a miniscule walking rate of 5%.
Jimenez averages a career-high 95.9 mph on his heater, and according to Statcast, he’s among the league leaders in fastball spin rate (93rd percentile), chase rate opponents (91st percentile), smell rate (82nd percentile), expected ERA (92nd percentile), and expected wOBA (92nd percentile). Given that dominance, a year of control remaining, and a modest $1.79 million salary, it’s understandable that Detroit is setting a high price.