The trading deadline is coming, the Tigers need some help, but where will they get it from, if anywhere? Detroit has the worst second basemen in the entire game as of late, so that would be something they could look at. Talk has swirled that the Tigers need another piece to add to the rotation, but arms aren’t abundant and they aren’t cheap. Corner outfielders have also been rumored to be on Detroit’s radar.
Well which is it?
For starters, pitching should not be on the Tigers radar. Justin Verlander is himself, Max Scherzer is trailing only Strasberg in K/9IP and Doug Fister is hopefully healthy and will return to form. With the top three pitchers in the rotation as good as those three are, anything that Rick Porcello and the tandem of Drew Smyly and Jacob Turner give Detroit is gravy.
If the Tigers could only play consistent defense behind Porcello his wins would skyrocket, he is a ground ball pitcher with a God awful defense. When he is good he is near unhittable, when he is bad the Tigers still have chances to knock down the balls in the infield.
With Smyly back on the DL with his strained back the Tigers are calling on Turner to come back up to the majors and continue to perform like he has done the last few times he was called on. Pitching is set, leave it alone.
Corner outfielding is a different beast. Could the Tigers use some more consistency and power from the outfield? Yes. Do they absolutely need to add another outfielder? Not a chance.
Rumors have linked the Tigers to Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin frequently. While adding Quentin does sound good, the price tag that is attached to him would make anyone balk. The Padres are reportedly asking quite a bit for the outfielder, and the Tigers don’t exactly have much to give up in return.
Price tag aside, the Tigers already have seven outfielders either on the 40-man roster or the disabled list. With Quintin Berry, Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Delmon Young, Ryan Raburn, Don Kelly and Andy Dirks all already occupying outfield spots on this team it seems ludicrous to think that the Tigers would add an eighth player to that cluster.
If Detroit shouldn’t think about getting starting pitching and doesn’t have the room or real need for another outfielder, what do they need? A second baseman; a real one.
Who is the Tigers second baseman, no really, who is? Manager Jim Leyland continues his revolving door at second base between Ramon Santiago, Raburn and Danny Worth. Santiago has stepped up a bit of late, but nowhere near enough to justify him keeping his every day position. Raburn is well, Raburn. And Worth has shown flashes of what he can be, but it just isn’t coming out. Maybe he needs more time in Toledo or maybe the Tigers just have another Quad-A player.
Second base seems to be the most logical position Detroit needs to address. The Tigers don’t need a power hitting player or one that will steal bases; they simply need a player who can field their position at second while consistently getting on base.
Names that have been linked to the Tigers second base job have been varied; from Aaron Hill to Chris Getz. Those two names are no longer at the top of the list for the Tigers, of late the name that has been hanging around has been a familiar one; Omar Infante.
Infante is hitting .286 with a .309 OBP with the Miami Marlins, and he appears to be a very good fit in Detroit. Problem is, he’s still a pretty good fit in Miami. The Marlins are still in the hunt for the postseason and will likely be relatively unwilling sellers as the deadline approaches. But if they begin to fall out of the race, it may be a bit easier to pry Infante away from South Beach. But it won’t be cheap; Infante has another year remaining on his contract for a bargain price of $4 million. Miami won’t want to part with him unless the price is right.
A more likely fit is Kelly Johnson of the Toronto Blue Jays, who are on the outside looking in on the American League East race, but are still in the hunt for one of the AL wild card spots. Being 10.5 games back in the division can be demoralizing, but as long as they continue to think they have a chance at getting a wild card berth they won’t be sellers.
Tigers fans need to hope for an all out collapse north of the border so Dave Dombrowski can get Johnson away from the blue birds. Johnson is on a one-year deal with the Jays and will become a free agent at the end of the season, but seeing as the Tigers were considering offering him a deal last offseason there is a good chance they could re-up his deal.
Johnson is hitting .247 with a .333 OBP and 40 walks. While he doesn’t always get the hit, Johnson has a knack for finding a way to get on base, and that’s all the Tigers need him to do. His 10 home runs aren’t anything to sniff at either. This is the kind of player the Tigers have been sorely missing since Placido Polanco was allowed to walk.
Toronto will want a bit for Johnson, but with key catching and pitching prospects the Tigers have just enough bait to dangle in front of the Blue Jays to hopefully get a bite and send Johnson to Detroit.