Too bad the second half of the season wasn’t a video game with horrible AI. You know, the ones that allow you to trade Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis for a bag of stale potato chips solid starting pitcher. Too bad Dave Dombrowski can’t do what General Manager Joe Dexter does to the Tigers left hander Dontrelle Willis in MLB 2k9. What if Dontrelle woke up one morning and all of a sudden had a 100 rating against lefties? What if Jeremy Bonderman would wake up one day and have 100% composure with a 94 MPH Fastball? What If Dave Dombrowski could trade Magglio Ordonez for BJ Upton, like i did in my latest installment of MLB 2k9? Holy Cow, my dreams would be answered!
Sometimes in life, you just have to take what you can get. That is the case for the 2009 Tigers. Though there might be some bigger players on the market, there is a reality that nothing ‘big’ will be brewing in late July.
To baseball fans, Trades made are like the different sets of dreams throughout one’s lifetime. Remember that dream you had last week. You know, the one you never forget. It’s that stinking dream that remains in your head forever?
How about Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz? Or the less acclaimed Edgar Renteria for Jair Jurrjens swap of this decade?
Then there is the dream that has subsides in your mind, despite the focus always being blurry. You know what is going on, but you just cant put your finger on it. At first, you want to be in the dream, and a part of it. Ten minutes later you wake up in a dazed sweat and a headache.
Remember back in the 1999 off-season, when the Tigers were preparing Comerica Park, and then GM Randy Smith thought he found the cornerstone to a long and prosperous middle of the order? Juan Gonzalez was the best of the best. He was the A.L. MVP in the 1998 season. Randy Smith had his guy:
"“We’ve been working the last couple of years to acquire a marquee player,” Tigers general manager Randy Smith said, calling Gonzalez “a franchise player and future Hall of Famer.”"
Eventually, it became apparent that Justin Thompson, Gabe Kapler, Frank Catalanotto and Alan Webb weren’t going to work out. The Rangers got a couple solid everyday players, alongside a above average closer in Francisco Cordero.
Meanwhile the Detroit Tigers front office brought more and more headaches and late night chills, because the organization fell in love with a player who hit .289 and 22 home runs. They fell so deep that they moved the left field wall in so Gonzalez could hit more out:
"“It’s too big,” Gonzalez says. “I’ve already hit a lot of balls that would be easy home runs in lots of other parks. They told me the fences are coming in next year.”"
When you move the outfield fence in, you would think it would be for a franchise player. In this instance, Gonzalez wasn’t under contract for the next season. In the 2000 off-season, Gonzalez turned down a contract to be the highest paid player in the game. He doped the Tigers and fans had to endure it.
More headaches and sweats.
After the start of the new millennium, the dreams became more lost in translation. The nights asleep went from more of a nightmare, to lasting just ten minutes. With fans wondering, “What the hell just happened?”
In 2000 the Tigers sent fan favorite Brad Ausmus back to the Astros with Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz (the reliever). What did they get in return? Two prospects that never panned out and a deadbeat veteran. Chris Holt, Mitch Melusky and Roger Cedeno. By the end of the 2001 season, Holt and Cedeno had been released. By 2002, the Tigers had wheeled and dealed for George Lombard and Hiram Bocachica. Carlos Pena and Jeremy Bonderman were added, but nobody had any idea how good they were. Meanwhile Jeff Weaver was on a plane that ended his career when he got off in New York City. Finally after continious struggles at the plate, the Tigers released Melusky after the 2002 season. It wasn’t until 2004, that the trades became like dreams with naked women, money and fast cars.
You just can’t get enough of it.
The Tigers brought in Carlos Guillen for Ramon Santiago just a few seasons before making it to the World Series. Placido Polanco was acquired for a player with less value than a brat warming, gum chewing 2009 Nate Robertson. Of course some potholes were created down the road. The Tigers let Cody Ross slip to the Marlins, for practically nothing. Ryan Ludwick and Carlos Pena were sent packing, just to become some of the best power hitters in the league. Every well made vehicle has it’s hiccups on the 100,000 mile course to a championship. Every dream lends a different reaction.
For the dream to remain cognizant, some unforgettable action has to take place. Here are some dreamy, yet reality based trade options for the Detroit Tigers:
Chad Quails, Arizona- Qualls is a seasoned veteran that might be able to help this pen for a cheap price. The Diamondbacks are searching for talent, and the Tigers could offer a decent pair of mid level prospects for Qualls. The Tigers and Diamondbacks have worked together in the past, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Diamondbacks dealt another Arizona bullpen arm to the American League Central (The White Sox acquired Tony Pena).
Kiki Calero, Florida- Calero has made a strong comeback in 2009 and though the Marlins continue to say they are not selling, Calero is a type of player you can move while you are in a race. Calero has a 1.95 ERA in 37 games so far this year. Granted, he is only coming in for short roles (32 IP) and his numbers will blow up a bit in the A.L. Central. Still, he is a cheap peice of duct tape that can help this bullpen down the stretch.
Matt Capps, Pittsburgh- Capps is a solid closer, shutting down 19 of his 21 oppurtunities so far in 2009, but the Pirates do not see him as the shutdown future. The Tigers could add him for a couple mid level pitching prospects, or even an outfielder such as Casper Wells. Capps would be a nice addition to the back end, that could take some pressure off of Joel Zumaya. The Pirates could ask for a bit too much though in the end.
Michael Wuertz, Oakland- With Oakland out of the hunt practically, Wuertz could become available for the right price. Hitters are just putting together a .204 average against in 2009, and Wuertz can go more than just a part of an inning for the Tigers. Wuertz has only walked 12 in 42 innings. He could bring a much needed control arm to the pen down the stretch. The only question will be, at what cost.
Joe Beimel, Washington- With Manny Acta now getting the ax, it will be only short time before the Nats front office starts wheeling and dealing. There are many cheap options in the Nats bullpen, including Julian Tavarez, Sean Burnett, and Rod Villone. Beimel is a lefty that the Tigers targeted in the off-season. He is only under a one year deal, so the Tigers could bump his contract after the season. Mike Ilitch is willing to add payroll. This load up then dump out the garbage type deal could be just what the doctor of the five dollar hot and ready could be cooking up.
George Sherrill, Baltimore- The Orioles seem to be asking too much for Sherrill, but as the deadline comes closer, the Tigers could be a nice fit. The Marlins were asked to give up prospect Mike Stanton for Sherreill, and the Tigers don’t have a position prospect with that much power. The Oriole have a glaring weakness in their system at shortstop. Possibly if the Tigers have given up on Cale Iorg, then he could be dealt in a package to bring in a reliever and some offense.
Doug Davis, Arizona- Not the prettiest name or best performer available, but Davis is more or less consistent and throws from the left side. If Luke French isn’t enough for the Tigers, then Davis would be a nice fit.
Ian Snell, Pittsburgh- Here me out! Snell is another Dontrelle Willis waiting to happen, but he does have nasty stuff. If you can get him cheap enough, why not have him work with Rick Knapp and possibly figure things out? Snell might not even be on the market, but If he is I would call Pirate GM Neal Huntington. Paul Maholm is a lefty the Tigers might have interest in as well.
Bronson Arroyo, Cincinatti- The Reds have put the high leg kickin’ Arroyo back on the block and the Tigers could be one of those teams desperate enough to bite. There would have to be some type of balancing when it comes to money. Arroyo is owed nine million this year, and 11 in 2010. Possibly throwing in a Jeremy Bonderman or Nate Robertson as throwaway money could make this happen. Most likely not. Arroyo could be added though, if the Tigers increase payroll.In a possible trade of horrible contracts, the Tigers could send Magglio Ordonez to the Reds for Arroyo (I can dream right?)
Cliff Lee, Cleveland- This is a bit out there, considering the division rivalry, but if you are Dave Dombrowski, you have to make the phone call. With the pitching depth at the deadline so weak, Lee could be the difference between the playoffs and sitting on the couch. The chances this happens is slim to none. If the White Sox or Twins, who are rumored to be looking for pitching (who isn’t) pick up Lee, the Tigers would never forget it.
Aubrey Huff, Baltimore- The Orioles can get a lot more for Huff than if they were to deal him last season. The Tigers could use a solid bat with power. Outfield will be the ultimate search at the deadline, and though Huff isn’t an outfielder, he has played it in the past. Huff could be costly, but wouldn’t the price be worth it? Huff isnt the same player he was in 2008, but he does bring more power to the lineup.
Brian Giles, San Diego- This is a bit of a reach, considering Giles being injured, and his lack of production so far this season. Say the Tigers can get him for an extremely cheap price. Wouldn’t it be worth it to throw him out in the outfield to see what he can do? Why not at this point.
Nick Johnson, Washington- I’m not a big fan of Johnson, but if you want an offensive upgrade, he might be one of teh only few that is available. Johnsonis hitting .305, and could be a good option in the bottom of the lineup. The only downside is that Marcus Thames would be pushed out of the order in times. That might be a solution the Tigers are looking for, if they feel Thames won’t hold up down the stretch.
Mark Teahen, Kansas City- The Royals need a lot of help. Their top shortstop prospect blew out his arm, They traded their third best prospect to replace him with a decent shortstop in Betancourt. Teahen will have to move from third base when Alex Gordon returns, and it might be easier just to end the relationship between the two. Teahen can fill in all over the infield, and is an original outfielder. I think he would be an interesting add for pretty cheap.
The Market will be very small undoubtedly. I have expressed my love for Matt Holliday, despite his power struggles this year. Though the Tigers do need a bat in the lineup, it might be smarter to go pitching. Keeping in mind that adding Carlos Guillen after the all-star break could be just as valuable as adding another bat.
When it’s all said and done, our dreams might just be a ten minute glimpse at the dream our minds want to stay in.