Winter Meeting Eve Rumor Roundup

Are Larish and Thames on the trading block?

Are Larish and Thames on the trading block?

UPDATED 12.08.08 5:08 a.m.

Tomorrow is the start of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and things are going to get crazy-stupid when it comes to rumors and people who saw people talking to people. It was at the winter meetings last year (a year ago last Thursday to be exact) when the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. It was a move that came out of nowhere, so you never know what will happen. With that in mind, here is a cautious look at Tigers related rumors before the meetings begin.

Bullpen help

As mentioned Friday, it looks like the Tigers and the Mets are both interested in former Cubs closer Kerry Wood. The Mets however favor K-Rod which would work in the Tigers favor. But Buster Olney says that the Mets will throw offers out to multiple closers and the first that accepts will get the gig. Nice to be in a buyers marker.

Wood very well could be better than both Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, but health concerns could make him affordable from a dollars and years stand point. Motor City Bengals notes that while Wood’s numbers were terrific, his door-slamming ability wasn’t really tested in ’08.

Another closer with injury concerns is being linked to the Tigers today as well in the form of J.J. Putz. It’s not the first time Putz’s name has come up. This time it is Nick Cafardo (purveyor of Robertson for Lugo rumors) raising the issue, but it sounds like he’s talking more from a fit perspective than actual rumors.

UPDATE 12:01 a.m. John Perrotto reports that the Tigers would like to use Jeff Larish as part of a deal for Putz.

While there are mixed feelings about him as a closer, I’m still a fan of Brandon Lyon as bullpen help. I’m in favor of snapping up a player who won’t cost draft picks as compensation, and who generally doesn’t offer up walks. He’s also a buy-low candidate coming off a year in which he was hurt by a high batting average on balls in play. There’s no rumor here except for me stating my interest. Of course it could be a moot point if Lyon elects to accept arbitration which he is seriously considering. Today is the deadline though so we should know soon enough.

UPDATE 10:55 p.m. Lyon has rejected arbitration.

UPDATE 12.08.08 5:08 a.m. David Weathers, another named linked to the Tigers has accepted arbitration.


Gerald Laird is still the name the Tigers are pursuing. Morosi mentions pitchers like Guillermo Moscoso, Brandon Hamilton, Luis Marte, and Jon Kibler as possible trading chits.

UPDATE 10:45 p.m. The Tigers and Rangers may be nearing a deal involving Guillermo Moscoso

Starting Pitcher

This has been remarkably quiet. In fact the only free agent starter I’ve heard linked to the Tigers is Freddy Garcia who his battling an arm and shoulder injury of some degree of severity.


The Pittsburgh Post Gazette indicates that the Pirates may be looking for either Matt Joyce or Jeff Larish in return for Jack Wilson. Joyce is a definite no, Larish is a maybe in my book. Our friends at Pirates Revolution run down the pro’s and con’s of a Wilson trade.

The Tigers will meet with Adam Everett this week in Vegas.

UPDATE 12:01 a.m. Perrotto reports the Tigers interest in Wilson has cooled and that they view Everett as his equal.

UPDATE 12.08.08 5:08 a.m. Rosenthal says the Tigers are also looking Nick Punto but that Everett is the preference. Morosi notes that Everett worked out for the Tigers yesterday.

And while the Tigers aren’t being linked at all to Rafael Furcal or Orlando Cabrera, it’s worth noting the shift in the shortstop market with Furcal not signing with the A’s and Cabrera declining arbitration. I see both of these moves benefiting the Tigers indirectly.

This should serve as a nice repository for rumors. If there are updates to any of the names mentioned here, I’ll post the update when I get a chance. If something more concrete comes about, we’ll get up a post about that as well. Hang on. This could be a fun week.


  1. Andrew

    December 7, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Heard anything about Smoltz? I know he still wants to pitch and wants to pitch for the Braves, but is open to other options if Atlanta is no longer interested. I saw an interview with him at Ford Field on Wednesday on a local station and it sounded like he was hinting that if the Tigers were interested, he’d be interested, mainly because he’s from Michigan.

    Just curious if anyone has heard anything else about this…

  2. Andre in Chicago

    December 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    “Sosnick described the 2008 season as an emotional “perfect storm” for Willis. His wife, Natalee, suffered through severe complications after the premature birth of the couple’s daughter.”

    i wasn’t sure where to put this, but i hadn’t heard about this during the season. i remember reading something similar about Guillen’s wife being near death at one point last season. just thought it was interesting.

  3. billfer

    December 7, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I know Guillen missed a week or so around the All Star break. I hadn’t heard about the situation with Willis. I don’t know the timing of Dontrelle’s situation, but that sort of thing can certainly have an impact.

  4. Pingback: High Five: 12/8/08 | The Sports Mitten

  5. Mike R

    December 8, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Bill, I took a look at the 4 options at SS (punto, wilson, izturis, everett) and Punto comes out better than I thought he would — though his wOBA’s have been inconsistently up and down year in, year out that his Marcel’s took into account two .324 wOBA’s where as this time last year it would’ve taken into account three wOBA’s of .282, .324, .260, which would’ve lead to a lower wOBA projection.

    I still think that I like Cesar Izturis as the best option available (throwing Wilson out who, in my mind, is the most talented of the 4 SS options) due to the opportunity cost of trading a player rather than just investing money like the other three would command.

    In the end, i can get behind the other 3 (Izturis, Everett, Punto), depending on who comes the cheapest.

  6. Mark in Chicago

    December 8, 2008 at 9:57 am

    nice work billfer keeping the updates going. but get some sleep, man! 5:08 AM?

    Mike, I checked your blog, nice work breaking down the options. I agree with you that Izturis makes a lot of sense, given his age and reasonable consistency. Nick Punto would not be the end of the world either. My fear is that Leyland would insist on hitting either of those guys leadoff or #2. 😉

    Wilson isn’t worth the expense of top flight prospects in my mind, and Everett seems to be fairly high risk given his injuries the last couple years. Since you get virtually no offense from him whatsoever, his value could be diminishing rapidly.

  7. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Yeah, Izturis looks better all the time. To me, it’s


    Which means: Bet on Everett.

  8. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Mark, Izturis’s career split batting leadoff (1229 PA, .278/.318/.356 – yeah, .356!) really isn’t as bad as you might think. It’s not Granderson good, and I think the Tigers ought to consider Guillen or even Sheffield for leadoff before a guy like Izturis, but still. It was a bit surprising to me.

  9. Mark in Chicago

    December 8, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Loon, that .318 OBP is pretty lame for a leadoff hitter. I am surprised his SLG was that high though.

    Marcel projects him for a 259/314/333 year in 2009. Not what I would call exciting.

    I agree that Guillen of Sheff would be better guys to have in the leadoff spot. Especially since Sheff stopped hitting home runs.

  10. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Who is this Guillen of Sheff? “Rings” a bell. Was he in Lord Of The Rings?

    If the Tigers are really considering a deal for Putz invloving Larish, would it be crazy-stupid to go for Beltre as well?

  11. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Might the Tigers save so much on their C and SS shopping now that they’d be able to add not only a closer, but also a starter? Could Randy Wolf (lefty) be of any interest?

  12. Ryan

    December 8, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Wow. If Larish is the cornerstone of a deal for Putz, I like it six ways from sunday. Not giving up anyone would be the ideal, but giving up Larish for a good, affordable closer is a close second. I think the Tigers have plenty of 1B/DH types for the foreseeable future. Can’t imagine why the M’s would go for it, but I can dream.

    With Laird already here, if Putz comes over for Larish and junk, this team is one (maybe two) good SP away from having a real chance in ’09.

    Loon – Not crazy-stupid, but unnecessary. Two reasons it’s a no. First, the Tigers aren’t going to want to add that kind of salary. I think he’s around $12 mill for ’09. Second, the Tigs shouldn’t be spending prospects on a third baseman when they still have such desperate pitching needs. No matter how you feel about Inge, 3B is less a position of need than SP. The only conceivable way I see Beltre coming here is as a part of a Magglio blockbuster; and I don’t think the M’s have any interest in Maggs. Now Yuniesky, on the other hand, I think could be had as a throw in for cheap. Don’t love him, but I’d be fine with him competing with Santiago for the SS job.

  13. Chris in Dallas

    December 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I’m all for adding a player named ‘Yuniesky’. That’s got cache out the ying yang.

  14. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    You’re right, Ryan. I think Beltre and I get a little giddy. I was focusing (mistakenly) only on the idea (far-fetched?) that Inge could be shipped out if the Tigers would pick up half his salary. And also on recent history of the Tigers being “set” at 3B and then dealing for a 3B.

    Wait – I saw the name Beltre again in this very post, and waves of giddiness are again sweeping over me. If the Mariners take Inge, they save some money and Tigers effectively get Beltre for not so much more. Larish, Thames, Inge, and Rodney for Putz, Beltre, and Betancourt. Latest pipe dream.

  15. Chris Y.

    December 8, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Take it from a former Seattlite:

    Yuniesky – yes
    Putz – yes
    Beltre – big, fat, no way, Jose Adrian

    Unless you want to replace one 3B who likes to swat at the fastball around the eyeballs with another who like to hack at the fastball around the eyeballs.

  16. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    No Beltre? My dreams are shattered. I don’t even really want Yuniesky, except for his name, which I’d change to J.J. anyway. Ryan made me add him.

    Putz for Larish and junk, then, OK.

  17. Mark in Chicago

    December 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Betancourt is an interesting idea, I’m not aware if the M’s are looking to move him or if they have a suitable replacement. He’s not exactly an on-base machine, but he’s got a little power and plays a pretty decent shortstop, if memory serves. He’s also pretty tough to strike out, which is an element that our lineup could need. Plus he’ll turn 27 next year. I’d be for it (especially as part of a trade for Putz), I just don’t see why the M’s would be. If Larish has to be part of that deal, so be it. Although he tore up the AFL. If he can play a solid 3B, maybe he can replace Inge…

    Beltre I can do without.

  18. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    No love for Beltre, I see. Why is that? Solid career numbers, great glove. (Very anomalous 2004, I note suspiciously). Is it the high price for a guy that may be on the cusp of decline? If the Mariners shared Chris Y.’s view that Beltre is just an expensive* Inge, well, I’d pull the trigger on an Inge for Beltre swap without hesitation. Forget Putz and Betancourt.

    * More expensive.

  19. Mark in Chicago

    December 8, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Loon, I think many of us here would take a straight-up trade if Inge for just about anything short of a ham sandwich (pun intended).

  20. Chris in Dallas

    December 8, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Beltre and Betancourt? Do you really want the left side of the infield from a team that lost 100 games? I say no.

  21. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Be fair, Chris in D. Bad chemistry is what did the Mariners in, and their left infield was entirely blameless in this. Besides, I really don’t want Betancourt. Just Beltre. More Putz, though, if I have to be serious and realistic.

    Mark, maybe we can trade Inge to the Giants (who immediately trade him to Cleveland) for Renteria. Then deal Edgar to… um… Milwaukee. For J.J. Hardy. Yeah. It’ll be like a big game of hot potato-Inge-and-Edgar. The Giants end up with Betancourt. I see this happening. Totally.

  22. Chris Y.

    December 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Beltre’s a guy who made 13.5 M last year and is set to make more this year. I, for one, would hate to see us fold that high-dollar, average-ish production (low OBP, high SLG) righty with a real love for the SO into the Tigers lineup (sounds like most of our lineup, no).

    But then again, I don’t think the Tigers are really eying any M but Putz, right? Or has someone found some additional info I haven’t seen.

  23. Chris Y.

    December 8, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    A last word on Beltre: Mariner’s fans would go ape-sh** happy if Beltre was gone next year. Beltre is all of what remains of two ridiculous Bavasi figurehead-signings. It’d be like a PNW Christmas in early December with no more Sexson, AND no more Beltre.

  24. Mark in Chicago

    December 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    the plot thickens… from MLB trade rumors:

    According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Tigers are set to sign free agent shortstop Adam Everett.

    there is a link at MLBTR that says, well, you get the idea.

  25. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    No, Chris Y., I haven’t seen a single thing linking Beltre to the Tigers, not even journalistic speculation about it.

  26. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Well, whether it’s Everett or someone else, getting the needs for both C and SS filled in one day, the first day, would really be something. Time to shift all the attention to pitching needs, starting and relief.

  27. Ryan

    December 8, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Sounds like Everett is definitely here. Is he the starter, or does he back up Ramon? Santiago actually has the higher career OPS+ (72 to 69), but Everett is the defensive whiz.

  28. Tigercub33

    December 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    MLBTR says the deal is confirmed – 1 year for 1 Mill plus incentives (pending a physical)

  29. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Wow. $1MM for Everett. It would seem the Tigers will have some money left for pitching after all. Cool.

  30. Joel in Seattle

    December 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Hopefully one of the incentives is “bat over the Mendoza line.”

  31. Smoking Loon

    December 8, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    A Santiago/Everett platoon, I would think (see platoon splits).

  32. Joel in Seattle

    December 8, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Anyone think the Tigers would be interested in Garland? Too pricey? Or are we convinced we’ve got 5 battle-ready starters?

  33. Mark in Chicago

    December 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Boy I hope they are not interested in Garland. He’d cost about $10-12 million anyway, and there’s that little matter of him sucking more and more each year. He’ll eat innings, I suppose, and there’s value in that. But I’d rather see the bullpen get another $10 million in it than the rotation.