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The Tigers Shopping List

June 4, 2010

John Stroba

There is very little doubt that the Tigers are going to be contending at least in the AL Central this season. Right now they stand 2.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins. And the question that needs asking is what do the Tigers need to upgrade, and are they willing to pay the cost for that upgrade. It is still early, but already there are several teams that are realistically out of contention.

The first thing to do is look to see what teams are without even a faint sniff of the wilcard.

Baltimore: The O's did fire their manager today, and so they are clearly building with an eye on their future. Ty Wigginton could be a possibility if the Carlos Guillen experiment at 2b does not work out. Although the Tigers do have Scott Sizemore down in Toledo. Wigginton could work in at 3b as well giving Inge a day off here or there. The biggest problem with Wigginton is that he is going to a piece that is sought after with contending teams needing some IF help.

Houston: Some like, Drew Sharp, are making a case to really make a push for Roy Oswalt who is having an outstanding year for the Astros. Oswalt is clearly the biggest name out there right now. Houston is going to be asking a lot for Oswalt, because he does have another year after this one (16 million with 2 million buyout for 2012). The Tigers do have a lot of payroll coming off at the end of this year and while a foursome of Verlander, Oswalt, Scherzer and Porcello is very good. The real question comes down to if the Tigers want to pay a high price for this pitcher not only in salary but in prospects as well.

Arizona: Again, if the Carlos Guillen experiment does not work out at 2b, then Kelly Johnson could be a trade possibility as well. If Brandon Webb ever gets healthy and shows something then he could be on the trading block considering he is FA at the end of the season. That would be very good news for the Tigers, because he would automatically become the best pitcher on the market. In theory, that would knock down the number of Oswalt suitors and possibly the price as well.

Those are the teams that seem to be out of it, but others are going to be fading sooner than later and they might have a tasty player or two on the block. In the meantime, Detroit does need to figure out a few things.

1) Can Carlos Guillen be good enough defensively at 2b. This is a very key point here, because if he cannot that is going to really weaken the offense and might force the Tigers to go get another 2b.

2) Can Bonderman keep pitching at the level he is currently? Did Scherzer correct the mechanical problems and now is ready to be a very good starter? Is Rick Porcello going to continue to improve like he has the past couple of outings? Overall can the starters get into the 7th inning on a consistent basis? If the answer to all of those is yes, then the bullpen is going to be logging a lot less innings and that should make them more effective down the stretch. If some of those are not going to pan out in the Tigers favor then they are going to be looking for some pitching come deadline time. Whether that is in the bullpen or the rotation will remain to be seen.


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