Carlos Beltran And A Hypothetical Game Of Dominoes
By John Verburg
In a recent article on Motor City Bengals, writer Jordan Gorosh talked about the Tigers adding Carlos Beltran to the roster. Judging by the comments, and in general the feeling of Detroit fans around town, I think it is safe to say that a lot of fans, including myself, would be plenty alright with adding Beltran to the roster. Beltran would more than likely play a corner outfield spot for the Tigers, making one of our current corner outfielders expendable. So the move would create a need to do some other things, and in effect, the dominoes would begin to fall.
Since the likelihood that Beltran signs with the Tigers is a little slim, but not out of the question, I felt this little exercise was worth it. I wanted to look at the potential moves that could follow. Basically, playing a game of what if? With the situation being hypothetical in the first place, this is meant to be a fun exercise, and not necessarily a statement of what I think will happen. I will try to stay within the realms of the plausible however.
Okay, so let’s start with the obvious first move. Signing Beltran. I don’t think you want to sign a guy that is 34 years old to anything of real length, so I would sign Beltran for 3 years. Given that him and his agent aren’t likely to settle for anything less. I go with 3 years and 43 million dollars. I might be paying too much, given the age and injury history, but I think we can all agree, he is the perfect #3 hitter in a lineup that needs one, well, as long as Jim Leyland refuses to put Miguel Cabrera there.
Signing Beltran has now made either Delmon Young or Brennan Boesch expendable at this point. Or maybe even both. Therefore, the Tigers then move the arbitration eligible Delmon Young for another arbitration eligible player in Jonathan Sanchez of the Giants. The Giants need a little bit of offense, and the Tigers essentially get a 4th/5th starter. If they don’t want to that straight up, as Sanchez probably has a little more value, the Tigers thrown in a reliever like Brayan Villareal.
By signing Beltran at this point, the Tigers have now added Beltran and Sanchez, by just moving Young and a reliever. And of course, spending some money in free agency.
The next move then becomes a move to get a 3rd baseman for the next few years, and that is for Chase Headley. Headley has solid numbers out of the canyon that is PetCo, and the Padres may use him as a movable piece, considering they have James Darnell and Jed Gyorko on the way. This one is going to cost the Tigers though. The Padres are weak on the outfield corners, and I can see them willing to move Headley if they get Brennan Boesch in return. I wouldn’t like the Tigers losing Boesch here, however, Headley does have a little more value overall WAR wise, and it’s a position of concern, and hypothetically, I still have more moves in the bag.
So now, the Tigers have added Beltran, Headley, and Sanchez. They have done it losing Villareal, Young, Boesch, and money.
Now that I need a right fielder, I am going to go out on the market and get one. The next move is to trade Rick Porcello to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jose Tabata. Also part of the deal, I send the Pirates Jose Ortega and Ryan Strieby in return for Evan Meek. Adding Tabata gives the Tigers a young top of the order type, who walked in over 10% of his plate appearances last season. He also has some speed and some defensive potential, and at 23 is still improving. The Pirates get a young improving pitcher for a rotation that needs it, so much so, I think the Tigers could pry Meek away as well, given that I am sending a couple potentially usable players as well in Alburquerque and Strieby. Trading Tabata allows the Pirates an open spot for Pirates top 5 prospect Starling Marte.
The Tigers have now added Tabata, Meek, Beltran, Headley, and Sanchez. They have done it losing Porcello, Alburquerque, Strieby, Villareal, Young, and Boesch. Of course the money as well.
At this point, the Tigers still haven’t done anything to take care of 2nd base. They still need to do that. The Tigers will now look to the New York Mets. The Mets are going to make a big push to get Jose Reyes back, and in this scenario, they do exactly that. What that means is that the Mets, who are looking for a little bit of pitching, call up the Tigers and see what is available. Here is maybe the least plausible suggestion thus far. The Tigers then deal Casey Crosby and Andy Oliver to the Mets for 2B Ruben Tejada and pitching prospect Armando Rodriguez.
The Tigers would be betting on the Mets valuing two pitchers with a lot of talent for a guy that is already big league ready and young. Tejada had a .360 OBP last year, with a walk rate near 10%. He has a little bit of speed and has the potential to be an above average defensive 2nd baseman for years to come, he is only 22 years old. Tejeda has no power, but his on base and defensive ability fits nicely for the Tigers. The Mets get some needed pitching, and this could potentially really look bad for the Tigers down the road, but I believe since the Tigers are playing for now, this makes sense. It also leaves the Tigers with Below and Smyly, two left-handed options for the rotation in the future.
Now that settles the trade portion of the hypothetical domino plan, I still believe the Tigers are going to be in the market for another pitcher, and a reserve catcher after that. As far as pitching, I bring in two guys. I bring in Freddy Garcia, who has a relationship with some of the Tigers players already, and then I bring in Rich Harden as well, after having acquired my lefty. Harden has potential upside, and Garcia could form a steady back of the rotation with Sanchez until Turner and/or Smyly are ready.
After all the moves, here is a final look at the Beltran domino lineup.
2B Ruben Tejada
RF Jose Tabata
LF Carlos Beltran
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
3B Chase Headley
CF Austin Jackson
I think we can agree that looks like a pretty healthy lineup. Although it may not have helped the pitching staff. Still with all of the moves this is what the pitching staff looks like.
SP Justin Verlander
SP Doug Fister
SP Max Scherzer
SP Jonathan Sanchez
SP Freddy Garcia/Rich Harden
The relief pitching is relatively intact from the last season, replacing Alburquerque with Meek. There could be some free agent moves here, and a guy that I would consider taking a shot on is David Aardsma. Adding him would be a boost to the 7th inning if he is healthy enough. Given the health factor, he could potentially be had for cheap.
Okay. So now I turn it over to you all to tell me how preposterous these ideas are, or tell me if you like the thinking. Either way, I had fun doing it as fan, and that is all it is supposed to be.