Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tiger trade possibilities

There are lots of rumors that the Tigers are looking to add some pieces for a pennant chase this year. I'd first like to point out that I don't think it's a given that they will or should be looking to deal. They are a team with lots of young talent that should still be building for the future. That said, if you have a chance to win you must explore the possibilities. I think the 2 weakest spots on the team are LF and a lefthanded bat. With that in mind, here are some names to toss around.

3B/LF Chipper Jones (Atl) - his contract has 2 years and $22 million left on it after this season which is a lot for a guy that just turned 34. But he's a switch hitter with awesome career numbers and a .375 OBP this year and a .444 SLG this year. Not sure what the Braves would ask for, but they are struggling this year and he is not part of their longterm plans. There is a chance they could swing him for a nice price if they are willing to eat his contract.

LF/1B Raul Ibanez (Sea) - 2 years and $11 million left on his contract. He's a cheaper option than Chipper Jones, but actually is a better player at this point. Both are 34 years old, but Ibanez can still rake in a pitcher's park. He's got a .353 OBP and a .514 SLG including 13 home runs playing in Safeco Field. Seattle is in a bit of a rebuilding process, but I'm not sure what it would take to get Ibanez. Maybe a Craig Monroe/Zach Minor sort of package. He might be one of my #1 priorities if I were the Tigs GM. He's 34, but only has 2 not terribly expensive years left on his contract and he's still a very good hitter.

LF Jeromy Burnitz (Pit) - has a mutual option for 2007 left, but they buyout is only $700,000 if the club declines. Not as good a hitter as the first two, but he can still put some pop on the ball. His .281 OBP this year is brutal, but he does have 11 HRs and could be a decent bat off the bench. Wouldn't take much at all to get in a trade, but would add very little other than a left handed bat.

1B Nick Johnson (Was) - 3 years and $16.5 million left on the contract of this 27 year old. His contract is actually a bargain considering his age and production at the plate. He's got a phenomenal .438 OBP this year to go along with his .561 SLG. Those numbers should make him an All Star. I doubt he can play LF, but if the Tigs could get a player in his prime with that kind of hitting talent they would have to seriously consider it. Unfortunately it would probably take a pretty good offer to get him.

I'd also think Alfonso Soriano is a possibility. No, he isn't a lefty. But the guy can play. I have a feeling Washington will ask a lot for him, but he's a FA to be with little interest of staying in Washington so they will feel some pressure to deal him before the deadline. I hope Dombrowski keeps his ears open in case they want to unload him for cheap.



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