Watching the Chicago White Sox wheel-and-deal in the last week or so has had some wondering:
Can’t the Tigers add better players? The White Sox are doing that…
It’s true: the White Sox have made marked improvements to their roster. They added Kevin Youkilis, filling a giant void at third base, much like the void the Tigers had at 2nd base before their recent acquisition of Omar Infante. Youkilis adds his bat and above average defense to a lineup who had no one batting over .200 at the position all season. They added some bullpen help later by acquiring Brett Myers from the Houston Astros, adding some veteran years into what has been a very young bullpen.
And yesterday, they traded for Minnesota Twins starter Francisco Liriano, keeping up with a flurry of moves as they aim for the top of the division in the stretch run. While that acquisition is puzzling to some, Kenny Williams (White Sox GM) is seemingly putting it “all in”, in order to solidify his teams chances of making a run to the postseason, if not the World Series.
As Tigers fans, can we be just “okay” with the 1 move the Dave Dombrowski has made so far? Once they get into their grooves, it would seem that Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante will do their part to help the team down the stretch. But to some, it might not be enough.
The struggles on offense, which we all have seen over the course of the current road trip, is mounting loads of frustration amongst the fans. Inconsistencies are going to happen over the course of a 162-game season. But certain players getting hot, cold, or mostly cold, like that of Delmon Young, Brennan Boesch, Ryan Raburn, Don Kelly, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta are wearing on the collective psyche of the fan base.
Where do the Tigers improve? Statistically, they rank 4th in the majors as a team in batting. Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are all hitting over .300 (as is Andy Dirks, but in only 37 games). Of course, that is all working from the top half of the lineup. Naturally, all of the aforementioned players are working from 5th down in the lineup, for the most part (if we don’t count the inexcusable placement of Raburn in the 2-hole). While the raw talent and energy of Quintin Berry seems destined to stick around for a while, and Andy Dirks coming back healthy, do the Tigers dare make any more moves?
Remember, with the trade that sent Jacob Turner and 2 other prospects to the Miami Marlins, the Tigers don’t have a lot in their farm system past Nick Castellanos to bargain with. Granted, the White Sox did due diligence by not giving up much as far as talent for any of their recent acquisitions, and time will tell if the stretch run is good for Kenny Williams and his club. It’s my humble opinion though, that if the Tigers want to improve, it’ll have to come from the current roster. And from here, it doesn’t look like many teams will want to sell off anyone in return for low-.200/high.100 hitters.
But they might not have to. With Dirk’s progress in his current rehab assignment, the Tigers likely won’t have to feel like they need to bolster every corner of the roster like the Sox are doing. Dombrowski is plenty intelligent enough to know that already, and if he sees something he likes, he’ll go for it. But with the non-waiver deadline coming up on Tuesday, it seems unlikely. We’ll all just have to wait and see.
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