Twas the night before the Winter Meetings, and all through Dave Dombrowski’s office…
Okay, so it’s not exactly the token seasonal tale, but for the Offseason of 2011-12, it’s probably a rite of passage. As the offseason does wear on, and we all yearn for some action, we can only hope that the action we all crave is all for immediately upgrading the Detroit Tigers.
Except that is easier said than done this offseason.
The free agent pool is awfully shallow this season, and with the holes the Tigers need to fill, that’s not necessarily good news to hear.
One thing we know for certain: Ramon Santiago is going to be back, signing a new 2-year deal worth over $4MM. Good, since he’s a wonderful utility infielder. Fills a need at short or second base, and his switch-hitting bat is also useful from time to time.
But over the last week though, we’ve heard a few rumors and rumblings: and I’ll qualify any of this rumor mongering with the argument that usually agents put their clients names out there, usually saying (insert team here) has some interest in (insert player here). That said:
For Reyes, I’ve contended that he’s going to want Carl Crawford time/money, and the damaged goods that his has been, he’s nowhere near worth it. He did have a solid season, when he was playing. He was hampered down the stretch with injuries, and frankly, unless the Tigers decide that moving Jhonny Peralta is in their future, there’s nowhere to put Reyes full time. It’s been known that other than Santiago and Peralta, Ryan Raburn will also figure in at second base, which really leaves a log-jam in the middle infield for the current setting of the Tigers roster. Over time, a Reyes deal probably looks horrible as he ages, so the Tigers should look elsewhere. Of course, that doesn’t mean DD will do that…
As for Aramis Ramirez, for what the Tigers lack in total offense at third base (paging Brandon Inge), the team could do without this not-so-defensive replacement. I’ve always believed that players tend to perform a little differently/better when they’re faced with offseason free agency, and in my humble opinion, this isn’t any different. We’ve seen Dombrowski down the stretch substitute even average standard defense for more offense (Paging Wilson Betemit and Delmon Young), but even signing this guy for 2 or 3 years just for the sake of waking up any bats that play there is a bit much. And while we don’t know much about Delmon’s status this winter, but pretend you have Ramirez’s defense at third AND Delmon’s out in left field. It’s not a pretty sight (cue the Benny Hill music at any time…).
With that though, I’m curious as to what noise the Tigers are going to make with their current roster, and the current batch of free agents. We also heard some rumors that the team was looking into Martin Prado‘s trade status from the Braves, but that can easily be quelled with Santiago’s return. And didn’t we hear some rumors that Joel Zumaya might have some interest with other teams? I’m sure the Tigers have lost patience with him and his recurring injuries, but with the holes in the bullpen, he could be a cheap option. Bottom line, it should be a rather “edge-of-your-seat” session of Winter Meetings thanks to the seemingly many uncertainty’s the team seems to face.
With the aggressiveness that Dave Dombrowski usually has shown us, we could be in for a very interesting week.
Follow me on Twitter, @DisplacedTgrFan.