It’s almost July, and in the world of the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball that means that trade talks are about to swirl. Fans will get worked up into a heavy lather over this guy or that guy and then General Manager Dave Dombrowski will pull a rabbit out of his hat and shock us all with an off the radar guy. See Doug Fister, circa 2011.
Rick Porcello could be on the move
Last year the main additions were Fister and Delmon Young. Oddly enough, Delmon finds his name atop the list of players likely to leave the Motor City this trading season.
The Tigers needs have been clearly identified as:
- A 2nd baseman
- A powerful right-handed hitting outfielder
- A potential 5th starter
In terms of on-base plus slugging % (OPS), the 2nd base position for the Tigers has collectively been the 3rd worst unit in all of baseball. Sadly, the obvious names on the trade market don’t exactly thrill. How do Chris Getz and Marco Scutaro suit your fancy? Yeah, me neither.
If Dombrowski is to upgrade the 2nd base position over current holdovers Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn, he’ll have to get creative. In the offseason I advocated for the acquisition of Neil Walker from the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the Pirates playing good baseball and in contention in the NL Central, Walker is effectively on lockdown.
Perhaps former Tiger Omar Infante could be an option, or someone of similar pedigree. Either way, the best-case scenario for the Tigers would be for Ryan Raburn’s bat to catch its annual summertime hot streak. He’s looked better of late, so maybe it’s coming.
As far as a power-hitting outfielder, the only real name to surface is current San Diego Padre and former White Sox masher Carlos Quentin. He is certainly more prolific with the lumber than Young and would likely be a better clubhouse guy to boot.
The Tigers will be desperate to move Young because he quite simply has underperformed and doesn’t really fit in. Be it Carlos Quentin or another off the map slugger, the Tigers will hope to move DY in the deal.
The hottest rumor to surface recently is the Tigers’ confirmed interest in Chicago Cubs righty Matt Garza. Detroit is one of about 6 teams that have inquired as to the asking price.
Garza sometimes is more than meets the eye with his mid-to-upper 90’s fastball and prior big game successes. His career 3.85 ERA belies the fact that while he is an above average major league pitcher, he isn’t elite.
The good news for Garza-to-the-Tigers rumors is that he doesn’t need to be elite. The Tigers already have that in Justin Verlander and are darn close with Doug Fister. But adding Garza to the mix with Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello would be an impressive rotation, though entirely right-handed.
Rookie Drew Smyly would likely suffer as the odd man out unless the Tigers were to move Porcello in the deal, a move I would be very curious to see transpire. Porcello has shown little sign of being able to reach his upper echelon prospect status. He is quickly settling in as a #4 or 5 starter in the big leagues. Not a bad living for him, but also not what the Tigers had hoped for.
Detroit would have to package up some pieces in order to grab Garza. Names such as Porcello, Brennan Boesch, Quintin Berry, Ryan Raburn, and others come to mind as ready and somewhat able major leaguers that might interest the Cubs. The Tigers have little depth to speak of in the minors except for at the catching position, which is always of intrigue.
This is but the appetizer that dampens the palette. Rumors will burst onto the scene like bottle rockets, only to quickly fizzle out into nothing. Others will have more merit while still more won’t ever make it to the surface but just might be the deal that happens at the end of the day.
Buckle in. The Tigers know that anything short of a postseason run in 2012 will be considered an utter calamity. Improvements will be sought and deals will be made. The only thing that remains to be seen are the names on the back of the jerseys and whether it’s enough to jumpstart this stagnant season.
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