Poaching from division rival could help Tigers' infield situation

The Detroit Tigers should make a trade with a division rival to address their infield.
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

The Detroit Tigers are still in search of a third baseman — or so we hope. Scott Harris hasn't given any indication that the team is looking for one, or any additions to the lineup, for that matter. Still, the fact of the matter is the Tigers need someone to man the hot corner.

On the other side of things, you have the Minnesota Twins, who have a bit of a logjam in their infield. Thanks to the emergences of Royce Lewis and Edouard Julien, they don't really have a spot for some of their older players in the infield. They've been rumored to be shopping two infielders in particluar — Kyle Farmer and Jorge Polanco.

This is where the Tigers come in. For this article, we're going to focus on Polanco, since he's the better player.

Polanco, who will turn 31 this year, has been a fairly consistent hitter the past several years. His wRC+ usally ranges from 115-125. The last two years, he's upped his walk rate significantly.

He's always hit for a decent amount of power, including a career-high 33 home runs in 2021. I wouldn't expect him to reach those heights again, but as long as his slugging % stays around .450 and his ISO stays from .190-.200 he should remain a fairly productive hitter.

Now defensively, he doesn't offer much value. He's been a negative defender by most metrics for most of his career. He used to be the Twins' shortstop. You can see whey they went for a defensive upgrade in Carlos Correa and moved him to second base.

He's also played third base before, though it's only 20 games and again, the defense was rather subpar. Still, the offense he's capable of providing would be well worth it.

This seems like a situation where Scott Harris should give Derek Falvey and/or Thad Levine a call. Polanco would be a nice offensive upgrade in the short term. He wouldn't cost a whole lot, since he has one year left on his current contract with a club option for 2025.

The Tigers wouldn't have to give up a whole lot in terms of prospects for him. Let's say Wilmer Flores and Peyton Graham for Polanco, or perhaps Ty Madden instead of Flores to go along with Graham. Rental infielders don't usually cost much, and this should be no different.

Many people would probably ask why these teams would trade with each other since they are division rivals, and that's not an invalid question. You don't see a whole lot of trades within a division. But it's also not unheard of. After all, the Tigers traded Michael Fulmer to the Twins just a year and a half ago. The White Sox were involved in a three-team trade that sent Avisail Garcia from Detroit to Chicago, and Jose Iglesias from Boston to Detroit. It does happen.

This is a situation where both teams have needs that line up with each other. The Twins needs pitching depth, and the Tigers need an infielder with a solid bat. This is something that both teams should consider.

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