The first half has had many ups and downs. Luckily, the Tigers are 49-43 at the all star break and 1/2 game up on the Cleveland Indians for first place in the AL Central. To say this division is for the taking is the understatement of the century. If the Tigers can fill some holes in the second half that were prevalent in the first, they should have no problem winning the division.
As it stands, the Tigers have a few positions that they should be looking to upgrade, in this order: third base, starting pitcher, second base, relief pitching, corner outfield. Since Carlos Guillen is due to return soon, the organization is going to see how he moves in the IF for a week-ten days before making an infield move. Here is the breakdown of guys that the club could be targeting:
For a bag of toe clippings, some string, and a garden hose
Jamey Carroll- This is the guy that most people are calling for the Tigers to acquire. He can play 2nd/3rd and the occasional SS. His .297/.368/.366/.736 slash means that he has the ability to take a walk, and would probably fit in perfectly in the two hole. He has only struck out 35 times on the season, too. The Dodgers will be willing to move anyone and everyone for the right price, and Carroll would be pretty cheap in terms of players.
Wilson Betemit- Since Mike Moustakas has burst onto the scene, Betemit is the odd guy out in KC. He’s a poor fielder, but puts up some pretty solid numbers at the plate. His .292/.364/.471/.835 line in two seasons with the Royals speaks for itself. I think this would be an excellent acquisition.
Adam Kennedy- Seattle is going to be a seller again. Kennedy plays multiple positions and could be easily replaced. He sports a .259/.308/.395/.703 line, which isn’t that impressive, yet coupled with good defense and playoff experience, Kennedy would be a nice pickup as well.
Casey Blake- Let’s just get all of the old Indians, huh? Blake has the ability to play all of the infield positions as well, and has put up a .243/.346/.386/.722 line this season. He walks a lot and hits for a little bit of power, yet also plays good D. He and Kennedy have similar profiles. With the Dodgers looking to move players, I wouldn’t mind taking both Carroll and Blake off their hands.
Ian Stewart- He has worn out his welcome in Colorado. If the Tigers wanted him, they could grab him for a PTBNL or a low level prospect pretty quickly. He has the propensity to hit for power, maybe he still has a little of that left in him.
Realistic trade targets
Hiroki Kuroda- Oh look, another Dodger. Some people say that he wouldn’t fare as well in the American League. I think that’s just plain wrong. When you throw a nice amount of ground balls (career 49.6%) and don’t walk guys (career 2.12/9) that is a way to succeed in any league. While the Tigers would have to give up a decent prospect or two in order to obtain him, the Dodgers would be happy to shed the payroll, and he’d be a fantastic middle-back of the rotation starter for the playoff run, maybe even the next season or two as well.
Jeremy Guthrie- Baltimore is going to continue to be on the lower end of the totem pole in the AL East. Competing against Boston and the Yankees is tough. The O’s may be looking to move Guthrie in order to grab some young talent. Guthrie has been Baltimore’s “ace” for awhile now, yet his numbers aren’t that pretty: 3-12 4.18 ERA 4.09 FIP 2.44 K/BB. However, once he gets off a last place team and doesn’t have to pitch in that division all the time, his numbers will go up significantly.
Jason Marquis- Mr. Marquis is enjoying a nice bounce-back season from his horrendous 2010 campaign, where he had an era of 6.6. This season, Marquis has a 4.05 ERA 3.88 FIP and a 1.76 K/BB. However, Jason has two problems. One, he’s played for 12 seasons, and has never finished one of them under 4 in FIP. Two, his GM, Mike Rizzo, is known for being extra stingy as a trading partner. While Marquis’ value is really one thing, his perceived value is probably slightly different by his GM. This isn’t a guy who is on the top of my list.
Jeff Keppinger- Jeff just plain hits. However, his problem is staying healthy. He has had an injury riddled career, and is mostly been a stop-gap type option. While he’s not an outstanding fielder, he’s probably middle of the pack, and like the other guys, he can play a few positions. He’s extremely difficult to strike out (career 6.2%) and only 6 this year in 146 AB. We’d have to give up a decent prospect or two to get him, but I think he could help.
Kelly Johnson- After bursting onto the scene with a giant April last year, Kelly has really cooled off. Yet, he still has a .218/.300/.440 line this year, good for a .740 OPS with 16 HR. Having a .740 OPS while only hitting .218 means he’s a type of buy-low candidate. While I doubt Arizona would give him up, I don’t doubt the Tigers will be kicking the tires on this one.
Brandon Beachy/Derek Lowe- If the Tigers were willing to part ways with Boesch, I think they could get either one of these guys. Atlanta has a plethora of starters on the horizon, and is looking for a helpful bat.
Aramis Ramirez- huge contract. We’d have to eat some.
Carlos Zambrano- another huge contract. I doubt the Cubs would let him go for cheap, still.
Carlos Beltran- I doubt we pick up another corner OF, but he can rake. The Mets would love to get rid of the salary, though.
Jose Reyes- Sorry guys. I just don’t think we are in the race for Reyes. It seems like the Metropolitans aren’t going to trade him anyhow.
Tyler Clippard- Once again, Rizzo isn’t going to let him go cheap. We can find other bullpen options that we won’t have to break the bank for.
Mike Adams- Unless you don’t want Valverde as the closer in 2012, I doubt we kick the tires on the best reliever available
Josh Willingham- Beane is another GM who is tough on trades. There hasn’t been much linking the Tigers to Willingham in the past, I doubt they even ask.
Wandy Rodriguez- Even though the Astros would love to get as much talent as possible, I think Wandy will go to a higher bidder than the Tigers. Unfortunately, the type of guy I’d like to give up for Magic Wandy would be a prospect in the middle of Turner/Oliver. Think Crosby with no injury issues. I just don’t think we’re a good match, and with his team friendly contract, other clubs will have better pieces to put on the table.
John Danks- I doubt Kenny Williams would trade him to us. Plus, we’re in the thick of the race together. Unless they get 10-12 back in the next couple of weeks, I see the Sox keeping Danks.
Chad Billingsley- Even though the Dodgers are in sell-all mode, I doubt they get rid of Billingsley. Once again, I don’t think the Tigers have a good match in terms of prospects without giving up Turner.
Erik Bedard- Hard to trade for guys who are always hurt. I don’t think the Tigers want another Washburn situation again.
Heath Bell- Like Adams, I doubt they have the pieces for Bell.
Any other video game scenario involving Clayton Kershaw, Josh Johnson, Matt Kemp, etc. Sorry everyone, these guys aren’t available. If the Tigers are going to make that type of blockbuster deal, it’s going to be in the offseason.
Topics: Casey Blake, Chad Billingsley, Detroit Tigers, Hiroki Kuroda, Houston Astros, Jamey Carroll, Jason Marquis, Jeff Keppinger, Jeremy Guthrie, Kelly Johnson, Los Angeles Dodgers, Trade Deadline, Wandy Rodriguez, Wilson Betemit