AJ Burnett and other things

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

Roster Maneuvering
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.

7 Comments

  1. Robert

    July 27, 2005 at 9:06 am

    if the Tigs trade anything of substance for Burnett it is crazy. They aren’t serious contenders for the playoffs this year and should only make moves that benefit in the longterm.

    If Burnett is the goal, why not just sign him in the offseason? Maroth would be expendable, Granderson not so much. I doubt Dombrowski would be so foolish.

  2. Brian

    July 27, 2005 at 10:18 am

    If anything I think the Tigers should be selling this year. With the development of young players like Granderson and Shelton, I think we should try to try and make room for them on this club by trading away players like Dmitri Yong and Rondell White.

    Since both Granderson and Logan seem ready for center, we can put Mags in right and Monroe in left. Monroe has a much stronger arm than White and better range (based on 2004 DER numbers). In the past he has been injury-prone and quite streaky. He’s a great player and fun to watch, but I think he’d better serve this club at this point and time as trade bait to help bolster our farm teams.

  3. Boston Fan in Michigan

    July 27, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    I like that selection of favorite players. He shows a clear understanding of what’s good for the team in favoring Pudge and Shelton, he’s willing to buck the trend of run-of-the-mill favs and go with Logan as his number, and everyone should love Brandon Inge.

    Smart kid. :)

  4. Boston Fan in Michigan

    July 27, 2005 at 2:28 pm

    *number 1, I meant to say. I cn tipe, honnest.

  5. Jason R

    July 27, 2005 at 3:01 pm

    A few thoughts:

    - How about Logan and Granderson in the field at the same time, especially at Comerica? Monroe, Granderson, Logan, with Maggs as DH.

    - Agreed that buying isn’t the appropriate course of action, certainly not when it would cost you one of the only two hitting prospects you had at the start of this season. But if the right deal comes along for Johnson, Maroth, Robertson, or Douglass, then you pull the trigger. These are league-average pitchers and can be replaced pretty easily.

  6. Ian C.

    July 27, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    I think you only make that Burnett trade is if you have a shot at the World Series. Otherwise, even if you could sign Burnett to a contract, you lost a promising prospect for a guy you could get in free agency anyway. No way.

    Even though it’s not exciting, I’d like to see the Tigers stand pat, too. Let these guys play the rest of the season together and see what happens.

    Having said that, I also agree that if there’s interest in White or Johnson, they should probably be dealt. Especially White, as there’s a logjam in the outfield right now.

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