The Tigers, who currently have a vacancy in their starting rotation, are interested in acquiring veteran right-hander Derek Lowe from the Braves, major-league sources told FOXSports.com.
The sources indicated that the sides have not had serious talks, and Lowe’s high salary could be a big barrier for Detroit. He is owed roughly $6 million over the rest of this season and $15 million next year.
But the Tigers have made a starting pitcher their No. 1 priority, and the price in prospects for Lowe would be much less than the acquisition cost on Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Why would the Braves consider trading Lowe when they are currently atop the National League wild card standings? For one thing, he has the second-highest ERA (4.30) among the Braves’ current starters. The Atlanta farm system is rich in pitching, and it’s possible that a stud prospect such as Julio Teheran or Mike Minor could approximate Lowe’s performance over the remainder of this season.
The Braves want a right-handed hitting outfielder, but they wouldn’t necessarily need to get that player from Detroit. Even if the Tigers pay only $2 million of Lowe’s salary this season, the Braves could use that savings to put toward paying a hitter that they acquire from another team. The Braves, who are owned by publicly traded Liberty Media, don’t have an abundance of payroll flexibility, so a $2 million reprieve (or something similar) could make a big difference for them.
Lowe, 38, hasn’t pitched for an American League team since 2004, so the Tigers may have some reservations about bringing him back to the more offensive league. And all things being equal, the Tigers would like to add a left-handed starter to a rotation that currently lacks one.
But Lowe, a Michigan native, has good career numbers at Comerica Park. It doesn’t hurt that the Tigers and Braves have been frequent trade partners in recent years.
— Jon Paul Morosi