MLB Rumors: Tarik Skubal of the Detroit Tigers left his start last night against the Minnesota Twins after five shutout innings with what is being described as “left arm fatigue.” Skubal was considered to be one of the more prominent names among starting pitchers who could conceivably end up moving before today’s 5:00 p.m. Central trade deadline, but it would seem unlikely at this point he would move, given the uncertainty there would be about his health.
This could potentially impact the market for Martin Perez, as one less starting pitcher on the trade market would potentially increase the interest in Perez, though Skubal is under control for several more years, while Perez is a free agent after the season. It is still an open question as to whether Perez gets moved — while Perez has been great so far this season, earning his first All Star berth, he’s also a career journeyman, and teams are going to be leery of what, exactly, they’d be getting from Perez over the final two months. Perez and the Rangers have also expressed mutual interest in a potential contract extension, and the Rangers need arms that can absorb innings over the final two months, which would mitigate against the Rangers giving up Perez for a fringy return.
This could also potentially impact the Rangers, however, as Skubal would seem to be someone that the Rangers would have at least have been engaged in trade discussions about. Pretty much every report indicates that the Rangers are scouring the trade market for “controllable starting pitching” — guys who would presumably be under contract or team control through at least 2024 (though they aren’t going to ignore pitchers who are free agents after next season, as evidenced by their reportedly having sniffed around on Luis Castillo before he was sent to Seattle).
Skubal, a 25 year old lefty, is under team control through 2026, which would put him firmly in the “controllable” category. Skubal had an okay 2021 season, putting up a 4.34 ERA in 149 innings over 29 starts and two relief appearances, though with a 5.58 xERA and a 5.09 FIP. He has made significant strides in 2022, though, putting up a 3.52 ERA and 3.31 xERA 117 innings over 21 starts, due in large part to reducing his home run rate by two-thirds.
Detroit was hoping to take a big step forward in 2022 towards contention — instead, they’ve regressed, having allowed 124 more runs than they’ve allowed so far this season while posting a 41-63 record. They aren’t going to go full-on rebuild, but they could look to move Skubal for high quality major league ready, or near major league ready, players who could step in fairly quickly.
Skubal trade talks will presumably resurface this offseason, and the Rangers will, I imagine, be inquiring at that point as well. Skubal is not a top of the rotation guy, but he’s someone who could be plugged into the middle or back of the rotation with a belief that he’ll give you quality innings.