With last night’s win the Tigers have reached the 100 game mark at a very even 50-50. I’m pretty satisfied with a .500 record at this point in the season. Sure there are a handful of games that the Tigers let get away, but they’ve also stolen a few as well. I never imagined they’d be in the wild card hunt with a .500 record, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if they still had a shot at the division. Those are just two more reasons why I should refrain from predictions. In any case, with the Tigers on the fringes of contention, they have been rumored as both buyers and sellers. And the biggest name that has been rumored to be coming to Detroit is AJ Burnett.
Dave Dombrowski is quite familiar with AJ Burnett from his time in Florida. We know that Burnett throws in the mid to high 90’s and strikes out nearly a batter an inning. He does benefit from playing in a pitchers park, but when he’s on and healthy it doesn’t matter where he’s pitching. And that’s the key…when he’s healthy. Burnett is 28 and has topped 150 innings twice in his career (and he’s on pace to top it this year). He lost all of 2003 to elbow surgery, and was shut down early last year with elbow tenderness.
Now Jayson Stark is reporting that the Tigers are a darkhorse candidate to get Burnett and the players that Florida wants are Mike Maroth and Curtis Granderson. I’m pretty sure I don’t like that deal. I can understand upgrading Maroth with Burnett, but I don’t want to lose Granderson for a player that might be a two month rental. Burnett is a free agent after the season, and if you want him try to sign him then when all you’ll be giving up is a boatload of money and draft picks. Granderson bats left handed (which the Tigers need) and plays centerfield (which the Tigers need), and he’s major league ready now. I know that Burnett won’t come cheap, I just don’t want to see Granderson as part of that package.
Of course it all may be a moot point as other reports say the Marlins aren’t interested in trading him anymore.
But here we are a couple days from the trade deadline and should the Tigers be buyers or sellers. My take is that they should probably stand pat. They shouldn’t sell for the sake of selling, and they shouldn’t buy players who can only help them this year. Now if they have the opportunity to make a deal that would help them for years to come (Adam Dunn) do it. Or if they get offered good value for impending free agents (like Jason Johnson or Rondell White) then pursue it.
And just for your speculating edification, here are the other rumors I’ve seen recently:
Braves interested in White (surprising since he can’t play in the field)
Orioles interested in Nate Robertson
This happened over the weekend of course, I just never wrote about it, but the Kevin Hooper era ended with the Justin Verlander call up. Of course after his start Verlander was sent down to AA and lefty reliever Vic Darensbourg was recalled.
Now somebody else will be on the way out with the return of Placido Polanco from the disabled list. I’m not really sure who it will be. I doubt they’d send down an infielder. Infante has been playing well enough, and they just traded for Mcdonald. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Logan or Granderson optioned out. If Young can play the oufield on the occasion, there won’t be a lot of playing time for either. Then again there is always the possibility of one of the aforementioned trades.
On a side note, my 4 year old has become a huge Tiger fan. His favorite players in this order are Nook Logan, Pudge, Chris Shelton, and Brandon Inge. Mind you he’s 4 so Nook became his favorite because A)He has a funny name and B)he’s really fast. While demoting Nook may be in the best interest of the organization, it could have devastating effects in my household.
Young heating up
With last night’s 3 for 4 performance, Young is hitting 345/406/621 in 29 at-bats since he All Star Break. The Tigers lack of a left handed bat has been magnified by the slumping Dmitri this year, and Carlos Guillen’s lack of power. While another lefty would be a plus, if those two can hit for power the need won’t be as glaring.