MLB Trade Deadline, Rumors & Roundup: Detroit Tigers Will Buy Something, From Somebody, To Improve
As we approach the July 31st MLB trade deadline, everyone will be wondering just who is available, and at what cost. For answers, we've gone to our network of baseball bloggers, who will provide summaries on a team-by-team basis. Here we present the situation faced by the Detroit Tigers, as written by Bless You Boys' Kurt Mensching.
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Can anyone predict what these Detroit Tigers will do with any level of certainty?
This offseason started off with the castoff of a popular Gold Glove second baseman, followed by the trading of all-stars Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson. Great. Rebuilding for 2011 right?
Then came the signing of closer Jose Valverde. So much for the youth movement in the bullpen. Follow that up by adding aging, weak-armed outfielder Johnny Damon. What's going on here?
To outsiders, it looked like team gone crazy. For longtime followers of the moves of Tigers President/GM Dave Dombrowski, it was really nothing new. There's two things you have to understand about him: He likes to wheel and deal, and he loves a good bargain. He got his trade on during the Winter Meetings, bringing in a young center fielder, a young starting pitcher and two young relievers. He'd have been quite content to call it an offseason, then the flashing SALE!! sign lit up on his monitor when he saw the price of Valverde and Damon.
Now, he thought, he could make a run at the division and still be in good position for the long haul. For his career, that's a good thing. Ever since the disastrous 2003 season woke owner Mike Ilitch from his baseball coma -- or was it the NHL Lockout? -- rebuilding has not been an option.
Which takes us to now. Can anyone predict what the Tigers will do?
Yes. I can. And I will. They'll make a trade at the deadline. They'll be buyers by the time the deadline gets here. What exactly will they be buying? I can't say. Who thought they'd trade for Sean Casey in 2006? Who thought they'd move Pudge Rodriguez in 2008? Jarrod Washburn in 2009? That wasn't on anyone's radar.
Publicly anyway, they've floated the idea of adding a reliever after setupman Joel Zumaya blew up his elbow. In truth, they don't really need one. Their late innings contingent is quite capable of getting the job done, but manager Jim Leyland told reporters he'd feel a lot better if he got one.
What they truly need is an upgrade at shortstop. This is where Stephen Drew's name has been bantered about in the online press. It's not that Ramon Santiago is bad ... but if anything happens to him it's not going to be pretty. The utilityman has not had to serve as the team's primary option at any position since returning to Detroit, either.
They could use better starting pitching. They sniffed around Cliff Lee. They got rejected by Roy Oswalt. They may or may not have interest in Dan Haren. After Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, the rotation gets a bit sketchy. We all had a wonderful time watching Armando Galarraga throw a perfect game, but we're not foolish enough to think he's a top starter.
So I look at all those facts, and I come up with the idea they'll probably trade for a second baseman. Or a catcher. Or an assistant general manager, for all I know.
Rest assured, the Tigers will make a move at the deadline. Guessing what, however, is a fool's errand.