That’s right I used the word “thus”
Ive been getting a bunch of twitter and e-mail questions regarding why the Tigers aren’t trading anyone. First off, I run this blog as a way for me to express myself and don’t expect anyone to read it, so it’s a bit weird and flattering that people want to hear my opi—wait, im just like every other sports nut out there, I know everything, especially, when it come to MY teams.
There’s no secret that the Tigers have had a very boring this offseason this far, and that’s not a bad thing. None of the free agents on the market this year fit the Tigers needs. They are set at C, 1B, SS, RF, CF, and whether people like it or not, they would be fine at LF (ugghhhhh). 3B and 2B were and still are concerns, but given the fact that players like Kelly Johnson and Aaron Hill both accepted their clubs arbitration offers 2B was a black hole of players like Jamey Carroll and Jerry Hairston Jr. **barf** I would rather have Raburn and Santiago than what’s out there. The few names in trade talks have been just whispers; Atlanta’s Martin Prado, San Diego’s Chase Headley but both clubs are asking for the sky in return and won’t happen until the cost comes down.
As for starting pitching, Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello are mainstays. The 5th starter is up for grabs. The club has told the wonderful beat corps that they are looking for a veteran arm until one of the kids (Turner, Smyly, Crosby, Oliver) are ready. So of course the Tigers are thrown in the middle of the Gio Gonzalez trade talks. The club would be remiss to sign or trade for an expensive arm. Names like Bartolo Colon (yup, wouldn’t that be fun), Doug Davis, Kevin Millwood, and Ross Olendorf would all be cheap arms (like $1-2m deals with incentives) that could give 150 innings to the back end of the rotation AND would go into long relief and when Turner comes up. Signing Joe Saunders to a one year $7m contract is pointless when these options are still on the table. The fact that DD hasn’t done anything yet is good news. I wouldn’t expect him to sign an arm until late January.
The club also has a need for relief pitching, as was confirmed by the exposure in the playoffs last year. The signing of Octavio Dotel was brilliant, especially at $3.5m and an option. The fact that Al Albuquerque is out till July means that the Tigers should sign another arm. The fact that they should sign another arm, preferably a left hander, is besides the point, but even more crucial now. Jose Mijares, Damaso Marte, Aaron Laffey, Mike Gonzalez, and Rich Hill are all proven lefty specialists who are cheap and can pitch more efficiently than Daniel Schlereth. I’d expect to see something along these lines later in January as well.
The final piece the Tigers are looking for is a leadoff bat, since after two years of experimenting with Austin Jackson and his propensity to swing and miss, the club has finally said he isn’t a viable option going forward. The problem with that, like their other two position issues, is that there “isn’t a viable option” In free agency either. I for one, like Coco Crisp, but his OBP of .314 last year makes me gag a bit. However, given the fact that “true leadoff men” in the sense that they actually take pitches, walk, steal bases, etc cost about $100 million (i.e. Jose Reyes) the reality of getting a Brett Gardner, or Michael Bourn in a trade is laughable (as in, why even bring it up…you know who you are firstname.lastname@example.org). No, there are very few true leadoff men in the game, and Coco Crisp would do well in left field (which would mean “Elmon” would be a trade chip for a second or third baseman) for one year (and maybe even a vesting option).
Ive ignored the name Yoenis Cespedes for now, simply because I doubt the Tigers will sign him. I believe the Marlins are going for him, and will offer him boatloads of cash, a guaranteed place in center field and in the front of their lineup, and a place in the Latin community. The Tigers will offer him boatloads of cash, a guaranteed place in AAA until he’s “ready” and then a spot in the front of their lineup, and a place in the….Dearborn community.
If the Tigers sign him I will be pleasantly surprised.