The Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers completed a minor trade on Wednesday. The Rays announced via the team’s Twitter account that they had traded outfielder Mikie Mahtook to the Detroit Tigers. In exchange, the Rays will receive a player to be name later or cash considerations. The Tigers designated outfielder Anthony Gose for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 18, 2017
Rays Trade Mikie Mahtook to Tigers
Mahtook was selected by the Rays with the 31st overall pick in the first round of the 2011 draft. The 27-year-old made his major league debut in 2015, and owns a lifetime .231/.275/.410 slash line. In 41 games in first season, Mahtook put on a strong showing. He hit .295 with a .970 OPS, and hit nine home runs and five doubles.
Unfortunately, the young outfielder slumped badly in 2016. Across 65 games, his batting average dropped to .195, and his slugging percentage fell from .619 in 2015 to .292 last season. He hit just three home runs, and drove in only 11 runners.. On the plus side, he did improve as a defender. He spent approximately equal time at all three outfield positions in both 2015 and 2016. Two seasons ago, he graded as a slightly below average defender at all three spots. Last season, he improved to league average.
At the very least, Mahtook should be a solid defensive replacement off the bench for Detroit. Gose graded as a worse defender than Mahtook in 2015 and 2016. Mahtook is also younger, and offers more potential with his bat. If he can bring his offensive numbers back up to their 2015 levels, Detroit will be thrilled with this trade. If he can even get his average up to the .250-.260 range, they’ll have no regrets. Mahtook brings the pedigree of a first round pick, making this an extremely low-risk move for the Tigers.