There are a lot of teams looking to buy as the July 31st trade deadline approaches, and there are not very many high-quality starting pitchers are out there. If you listen to the most recent episode of the SportsTalkATL Podcast, you know Alex Anthopoulos is the type of GM that likes to kick the tires on everything. The prices on arms like Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman will be wildly inflated. It doesn’t look like Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber will be available at the trade deadline unless a team blows them away with three top prospects. So it’s no wonder that organizations are beginning to line up with interest for Detroit’s Matthew Boyd.
According to Chris McCosky – a member of the Detroit News – the Braves are among several teams circling the waters for the Tigers’ starter, who is having a breakout 2019 campaign. The southpaw with a career ERA of 4.84 seems to have figured something out, posting a 3.0 WAR in the season’s first half. His K/9 innings has skyrocketed from 8.4 in 2018 to 11.9, and his walk rate is at a career-low of 1.7/9 innings, giving him a strikeout to walk ratio of 7.1, which lands him near the tops in baseball. However, these otherworldly numbers have not stopped Boyd from carrying a 3.87 ERA.
Home runs are the reason for that. The lefty has given up 19 of them this year, including eight in his last three starts and twelve in his previous six outings. For that reason, he has yet to have a start where he has allowed less than three earned runs since May, but that has not steered teams away from pursuing him.
The most attractive part about a trade for Boyd is his contract. The 28-year-old is making $2.6 million this season and has three years of arbitration remaining. Starters are at a premium at this year’s trade deadline, but there are even less of them with more than one year of control, and none with four (if you include this season) like Boyd.
The Braves are a team that is not only looking for someone to aid them in a World Series run this year but for several years to come. Dallas Keuchel will be a free agent at the end of the season, and Julio Teheran is a candidate to be bought out for $1 million. After those guys, who does Atlanta have to rely on next year? They can’t send Mike Soroka out to pitch every night, making Boyd a perfect fit for their timeline.
Atlanta is also interested in adding some bullpen help. If the Tigers are looking to move Boyd, you can bet the house they will also be trading their closer, Shane Greene. The 30-year-old comes with another year of arbitration on his contract, and like Boyd, is having a breakout campaign. He was an All-Star, posting a 1.09 ERA with 22 saves before the break. Now, his FIP of 3.76 suggests there is some luck involved; however, the Braves bullpen is in desperate need of a closer.
Pulling off a trade for both Boyd and Green would be costly, but it kills two birds with one stone and involves no rentals. Both of these players could play substantial roles past this season on manageable contracts.