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MLB Trade Rumors: Detroit Tigers Interested In Atlanta Braves Pitcher Derek Lowe

According to a report from MLB Buzz of FOX, the Detroit Tigers are placing an emphasis on acquiring a starting pitcher before the July 31 deadline and have turned their attention to Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves. Here are parts of what the article had to say:

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

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.

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 ... 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.

Aside from the asinine Brandon Beachy rumor from a few weeks ago, this is the first substancial rumor we've heard as the hot stove begins to heat up. Why? There are a multitude of reasons.

As stated in the article, the Tigers are looking for a pitcher and the Braves have plenty of them. While Detroit doesn't exactly have oodles of cash laying around to throw at any player they please, acquiring Lowe and the remaining $20MM could be doable assuming the Braves pick up a portion of the remaining salary.

Even if Atlanta has to pickup somewhere between $5-10MM, that would still be a substancial amount of freed assets for the club to pursue an outfielder either at the trade deadline or in the off-season. This could be very appealing to Frank Wren.

Finally, Derek Lowe is currently the worst pitcher in our starting rotation, and he might not even be better than Mike Minor or Julio Teheran, who are the sixth and seventh options right now. Lowe is very good at what he does -- which is inducing a ton of ground balls and keeping the ball in the park -- and despite an ERA of 4.30, his xFIP is very solid at 3.45. 

This isn't to say the Braves shouldn't trade him. As a matter of fact, it (probably) makes the most sense to trade Lowe if we are to deal a starting pitcher; Hanson and Teheran are untouchable, Beachy, Minor, Delgado, Jurrjens and Vizcaino would require a massive return should Wren deal them and Tim Hudson has a full no-trade clause with his 10-and-5 rights. This leaves Lowe, who, at least according to the report, has quite a few fans in the Detroit front office.

If a deal is to be made, do not expect Atlanta to get many (if any) Major League-ready players back in the deal. This would be a move to shed salary and nothing else. Perhaps a player to be named later or two would be included, but that would likely be it.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.