Trades Can’t Fix Tigers’ Ails


This is what happens when I take a weekend off, huh? I’m not here to re-hash the injuries that seemingly have sabotaged the season for the Detroit Tigers, there’s not much value in that I don’t guess. Plus it’s just depressing.

I was in attendance at the CoPa on Sunday (my wife and I took our just-turned-four-year-old to his first game. He wasn’t at all into it. I guess we’ll try again in a few years) and a few things stood out to me. For starters, the season ticket holders in section 104, rows K-L, are some very knowledgeable folks and made an otherwise difficult game much more interesting to watch.

At one point in that afternoon game it dawned on me that of the nine players on the field, no fewer than six of them had been playing for Toledo at some point this year. Galarraga was pitching, Larish, Worth, Sizemore, Raburn, and Boesch all have been Mudhens this year. UGH. (more after the jump)

Point number two: I get it that Johnny Damon was sick, too sick to play in game one. Yet he was used to pinch hit in the ninth? As soon as he was announced, the crowd (and I) began wondering aloud where the hell he was when Sizemore came up with the sacks drunk and one out in the eighth. Too sick then but feeling better in the ninth? By that time the game was over. Damon’s professional at bats would have come in handy over Sizemore’s flailings when the game was tied.

The kids fought hard and Miguel Cabrera is certainly showing that he is an MVP, but this team just doesn’t have enough major league talent to withstand the rigors of a month or more without Magglio Ordonez and Brandon Inge, let alone two weeks without those two or Carlos Guillen.

That’s not to say that the next several weeks won’t be interesting, I’m sure they will, but I think the smart way to watch them is without concentrating on the team’s record, ‘cuz it likely won’t be pretty.

Dave Dombrowski says he’s not looking for “rental players”, and he shouldn’t be. Guys like Mike Lowell and Adam Dunn could help keep you afloat until the big guns get back for Detroit, but then what? Even if the Tigers traded for both players, what happens when Maggs and Inge come back? Dunn can only play 1B and OF and those spots are full with Cabrera, Damon, AJax, and Boesch, plus Maggs. Lowell plays 1B and 3B, again fine in the very short term, but when Inge is back, Lowell becomes a pinch-hitter only.

That means you just traded away several prospects and added to the payroll to cover six weeks of games in the middle of the season. It’s just not worth the price.

So instead of being major players at the deadline, Detroit fans will likely see next Saturday pass without much (if any) movement by the Tigers, there’s no sense in adding at this point. Adding a piece or two simply to patch a hole that can be patched from within isn’t the prudent thing to do. This team will have to fight on without most of the heart of their order, that’s just the way these things happen sometimes.

That being said, I’d still like them to make a run at adding a shortstop. Stephen Drew would be a long-term solution there. The position will be high on the offseason shopping list, no reason not to start early if they can get him now. I would also be in favor of any trade that added long-term value to the club, but don’t trade for a guy to plug a hole when the rest of the ship has so many leaks this year. If a hole is to be plugged, lets make sure that player will be around to fill the same hole next season as well.

The silver lining in the injury situations is that some young guys are going to get a chance to show what they can do while playing in a pennant race, at least for a few weeks until the Tigers fall out of contention. The schedule upcoming is brutal and the Tigers have a roster full of inexperienced talent. But there is talent. The next few weeks will shed some light on just how much.