A new name has surfaced out on the trade market, well two of them actually in the form of Atlanta Braves, but one in particular that should be tickling the fancies of Tigers fans everywhere. No, its not Jair Jurrjens. I still miss him too, and if we had Edgar Renteria to trade for him, I would do it in a second. I guess Delmon Young would do……but….I’m getting off track here. The real interesting player of the two Braves that are said to be available is Martin Prado.
The Braves who aren’t in the best market in the world, and don’t like to spend money are said to be interested in moving the two aforementioned gentleman due to the increasing salaries associated with them. In Jurrjens’ case, it is also related to depth at the position he plays. However, if Atlanta can land a young outfielder or shortstop with some talent, they are likely to move Prado as well.
Martin Prado is a 28 year old who can play multiple positions. The three positions that Prado is familiar with also happen to be three areas of need on the Tigers. Prado suffered through his toughest season in 2011, posting a pedestrian .260 batting average with very little slugging. His OPS was just .687. That doesn’t sound like a player the Tigers would want to acquire. However, Prado his previous 3 years, posted batting averages above .300, and had an OPS of over .800 every year. The assumption would be that his 2011 season is the outlier of the group, and Prado could return to being a .300 hitter again in 2012.
Versatility. Altough Prado has never really cemented one position down for a real long length of time, his versatility means he can be a full time player on the Tigers. Defensively, he is solid pretty much everywhere he plays, if not above average. Left field and third base are his best positions, but he holds his own at 2nd base. Offensively, he is better than any of the options that we have at those positions.
Contract Status. Prado is only in his 2nd year of arbitration in 2012. That means he would have one more year left in 2013 and then be a free agent in 2014. While I am sure Prado is going to approach the 4-5 million dollar area this season, it is easily worth the type of production he could provide the Tigers.
Interleague success. Prado has hit well when crossing over leagues, batting .306 with an OPS of .820. The inference here of course is that the Tigers wouldn’t be trading for an Adam Dunn here.
Value. Prado’s ability to hit, and his ability to play multiple positions at a relatively cheap price means he is going to have some value on the market. There is also going to be some competition as well, more than likely driving the price up. I am not sure the Tigers would be able to give the Braves fair value here.
Power pitching. This one is a little concerning, and I am not sure that I have come across this with a hitter before, but Prado has big time issues with good fastballs. I felt that way watching him, and then checked the statistics, and they bear this out. Prado hits just .215 against power pitching, which are in the top 1/3 of strikeouts plus walks. The one good thing about that is, playing the A.L. Central, most of the power pitching in the starting rotation resides in Detroit.
I don’t think there is much doubt here that Prado could be had. Again though, it might be at a decently high price and I am not sure the Tigers are necessarily a match anyway. Braves are said to be looking for young outfielders or shortstops.
I think it would be silly as a Tigers fan to not want Prado on the team. He seems to be a winner, and there isn’t any player out there that necessarily fits the Tigers needs better. And as much as I would like to say they could get him, I just don’t think it will be the case.