A Trade Proposal inspired by a guy named Josh


I was relatively bored at work for a little while today, so I found a male co-worker and I went for it.  “It” being a nerdy baseball conversation.

“What do you do if you’re the Tigers this off-season?” I asked.

This dude Josh, who I would say has a fairly decent baseball IQ, looked at me with this half hung-over deadpanned stare, and said “Get some speed.”

“Huh.” I thought.

I found the response to be somewhere short of groundbreaking, but highly refreshing at the same time.  For the first time in the last week or so, I heard someone say something other than second base, third base, or the long list of free-agents that don’t seem to fit in Detroit.

Would Jose Reyes be nice?  Of course.  He’s really good, and indeed swift with his legs.  But without cracking into my non-existent accounting skills, I don’t believe the Tigers could absorb a contract like that.  The Tigers are a team with a $100 million payroll already dishing out quite a bit for Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.  To have four guys earning like $70 million doesn’t make sense.  Plus if you heard David Dombrowski’s speech today, he basically hinted that a big free-agent splurge was not in the future.

I suppose you could make the case for signing Jimmy Rollins, and in turn, move Jhonny Peralta to another position such as third base.  But I simply don’t see that happening.  Aaron Hill could maybe be a fit – he swiped 21 bags last year and has a decent glove at second.  But his inconsistencies at the plate are quite frankly a little scary.  Adding team speed for the Tigers would most likely have to come via trade.

Is team speed the most necessary trait for a World Series champ?  No.  But in a tight ball game in October it is indeed an enormous help.  Plus so many of us have been clamoring for a true lead-off guy in this lineup for quite a while.

Well, here’s the frustrating thing.  Take a scroll down the leaderboards for stolen bases in 2011.  Find a player with a decent OBP, and you’ll find a long list of players who are most likely not going anywhere.

Well let’s cut the crap.  I have an idea.  Of course, the likelihood of it ever happening sits around zero percent, but I feel like it’s a deal that makes sense for two clubs….maybe.

There’s a pretty popular team from New York known as the Yankees who are in tremendous need of starting pitching, and options in the free-agent market are slim.  C.J. Wilson, Aaron Harang and Mark Buehrle are out there, but what if these guys sign elsewhere?  Or, what if the Yankees feel like one of these guys isn’t enough?

I also happen to be completely enamored with their left-fielder – Brett Gardner.  Gardner is a solid defender, a pain in the neck to pitch to, and yeah he stole 49 bases last year.  His ability to avoid the strikeout, have lengthy at-bats, and drive the ball into the gaps make him the ideal lead-off candidate for Comerica Park.

Ok.  Here’s the moment where most of you reading might be chuckling at this asinine pipe dream of mine.  Why on God’s green Earth would the Yankees move Gardner?  My reply is, if they can’t pitch, they won’t win a title.  Who else in that lineup can they possibly move?  Nobody.

In a perfect world the Yankees would be in love with Rick Porcello.  Rick is a groundball pitcher, which should translate well in the tiny confines of Yankee Stadium.  But I’d assume that Brian Cashman and the Yankees would hang up on this idea.  Rick Porcello, despite being very young, may never be more than a solid number four starter.  If he continues to have problems commanding the sinker, his ERA may very well sit around 4.50 for years to come.  He could easily be viewed as being too risky for the Yankees, or any other team for that matter.

This brings me to Jacob Turner.  Turner may be the future ace or number two of the Tigers staff.  But who knows?  He could easily not pan out at all.  The thing with prospects is you never can tell.  If the Yankees were willing to part ways with Brett Gardner for Jacob Turner I would make that move in a heartbeat.  You may even be able to have them throw in something extra.  Hector Noesi would work for me, a 24-year-old reliever who may have the stuff to start in time.

If the Tigers had a true lead-off hitter it would completely change the dynamic of the ball club.  Imagine how many more runs the Tigers could have scored this year if Austin Jackson wasn’t constantly whiffing at the plate.  You could move Jackson to the bottom of the lineup where he belongs, and have the potential for instances where there would be multiple speedy runners on base at once.  Craziness.

Trying to predict where free-agents will go, or what trades will be made this time of year is almost a fool’s errand.  But this is the kind of move I’m anticipating from Dombrowski this off-season.  I think he will be weighing many trade-options, which would involve moving Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and maybe even Jacob Turner.

If you’re feeling chatty, let’s hear you’re thoughts.  Is a true lead-off man/team speed high on your wish list?  Would you give up Jacob Turner for Brett Gardner?