It’s going to be a rough couple of months for Detroit Tigers fans. Plain and simple as it is, the rumors are out. A fire sale is imminent. Or is it? Here is the point- now that the Tigers have been tagged as sellers this off-season, everything written about them is going to be about getting rid of talent. No matter what happens, no matter how ridiculous the rumor. Turkey Day is over, winter is ahead and so are is the cream of the crop of what us fans call the off-season. I don’t know about you, but I am bored! Maybe it’s because I have put my rumor sniffer on and realize that for Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera to be traded, it is going to take a lot of communication, talent and cooperation.
We know about Cabrera’s salary. Only a few teams will be able to afford that chump of change. With his newly formed character issues, some teams might be afraid to take a chance on the 26 year old (insert not the money hungry Yankees or Red Sox joke here). Everyone, including ESPN King Pin Bill Simmons is drooling over the thought of the Detroit Baseball Mosher in a Boston uniform.
Who wouldn’t? The kid is 26 years old and can smash a baseball with the flick of the wrist. He has character issues, but those issues are what make him intriguing. No, I am not blabbing about the alcohol or spousal abuse. On the field Cabrera presents an interesting character that has never hit the potential fans, writers and coaches have dreamed up for him. He most always has a smile, but at the same time he never seems to hit in that one run when a.) The Tigers really need run production with two outs b.) Tigers fans really want him to step up to the plate and be the face of the franchise.
Without a doubt he is a talented player. Even on defense he has picked up his game at first. From one frustrated Tigers fan to another though, there has to be another level. Look at all the potential this kid doesn’t take advantage of. Red Sox owner John Henry saw that potential as the owner of the Marlins when Cabrera was signed as an international free agent at age 16. You would think that it is possible that the Tigers would at least listen to offers from possibly the only team that has pockets deep enough to be interested in the first baseman. Despite the interest though, I don’t see anything happening in this department for a few reasons.
First and foremost it is going to take one heck of a package to blow away the Tigers. Remember what the Tigers gave up to get him? The Tigers would probably want at least either Clay Buchholz or Daniel Bard. Throw in a proven hitter to balance cash a bit, plus a few more prospects and it might be close to a deal. Will the Red Sox be willing to give up that much? It’s possible. But it is also possible that the Tigers hold off on trading their franchise player until he can prove himself.
What if he comes into spring training in shape? What if his off the field issues have been cleared up? What if he puts together Albert Pujols like numbers? If the Tigers are in dire need to cut payroll, they might as well wait until mid-season. If the Tigers are out of contention and Miguel Cabrera is holding his wait, his trade value goes up. Not only do you get to dump some of the players that aren’t part of the future if they over perform. If the Tigers really want to they can clear payroll at the mid-season and receive the best talent available. Instead of taking a contract like Mike Lowell, they can demand the players they want.
Curtis Granderson on the other hand is a different story. Here is a kid that is known to be a good person. In short time in baseball, he has become an ambassador of the game. Not only does he have a great personality, but he has peaked as far as power numbers go. Here is a hitter that the Tigers have predicted will be in the three hole in the near future. Last year, his power numbers put him on the map. Many teams are now engaged in the true talent that could move to any outfield spot. If the Tigers are going to move any position player this off-season, you would think the odds would be to move Granderson. The Tigers could get cheap pitching for him, plus fill another need on this squad for 2010. With youngsters Casper Wells and Wilkin Ramirez really making a push to the major league level, it is a position of depth in the organization.
As much as I love the kid, I could console with management to move him. If not, you have to commit to him for the majority of his career. It’s not that Granderson isn’t a great player, but if the Tigers are not sold that he can fill the void at the top of the order, it would make sense to make the move. Replacing your second best offensive producer will be tough, but it makes sense for the organization.
If Granderson is dealt within the next few months, then I think it is very possible we see Edwin Jackson lead town. So many national media outlets are questioning why Dombrowski would want to get rid of his secondary ace of last year. At Jackson’s age, he is not going to get any better. From here, theoretically it is downhill. He is still young, but he has logged a lot of innings on that arm. After last season’s questionable second half performance, there shouldn’t be any surprise the Tigers are shopping him around. If Granderson is dealt for young pitching plus a position player, it opens up the chance to trade Jackson to fill another need.
Again, let me reiterate, I am not a huge fan of trading any of these players. But if it comes at the right price why not? If the Mariners are willing to part with a young talent like Brandon Morrow, wouldn’t it be worth taking the chance? The Tigers still have a lot of decisions to make before the Winter Meetings. It should be fun to see what happens to these players as those darn rumors continue to warm the Hot Stoves of the cold off-season.