As the July 31 trade deadline approaches, talks of the Detroit Tigers' targets have been heating up. They have holes to fill in their starting rotation as well as at second base.
Second base has been the position that has been talked about the most by this team, and management will look to upgrade here. Another solid starting pitcher to follow Verlander and Fister in the rotation is also seemingly necessary.
The starting pitching for the Tigers has been inconsistent and unpredictable this season—besides Verlander. There are many names swirling out there that the Tigers have shown interest in and, ultimately, could take a shot at.
Although the team is now in first place in the Central Division by 1.5 games after sweeping the division-rival Chicago White Sox, they will still be looking to upgrade at the deadline. Winning 13 out of 15 games won't stop this Detroit team from getting better, even if it means trading top prospects for a rental.
The need for another solid starter in the Tigers rotation is a seemingly crucial one heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The Tigers are currently in first place because their pitching has been improving since the All-Star break, but there is a hole in the rotation. Shields could be the pitcher who fills the hole and becomes part of a dominant rotation with Fister and Verlander.
Shields is 8-6 with a 4.39 ERA this season and is a solid starter for the Rays. He could be just what the Tigers need heading into October.
Stephen Drew hasn't had a fully healthy season since 2010 and has played just over 100 games combined over the past two seasons.
This hasn't stopped the Tigers from showing interest in the 29-year-old Diamondback shortstop. According to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com, the Tigers have shown interest in dealing for Drew, even if it means unloading current shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
The deal seems to be unlikely, but the Tigers will continue to pursue the shortstop. Drew is hitting just .217 with six RBI in 17 games played this season.
It would be a huge risk for the Tigers to drop Peralta, but if they could make the deal without losing Peralta, they could move Drew to second base and fill that position.
Anibal Sanchez of the Miami Marlins has emerged as a new target to join the Tigers pitching staff. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the Tigers had a scout present to witness Sanchez pitch in a 3-0 loss Sunday against the Pirates.
Sanchez is just 28 years old and could fill the void that was left when starter Drew Smyly went down with another injury. Smyly is just a rookie and could have his innings limited this season, making the acquisition of another starting pitcher very likely.
Sanchez has a 5-7 record with a 3.94 ERA this season with the Marlins. He is a seven-year veteran and a pitcher that the Tigers could use to back up Verlander and Fister in the rotation.
Omar Infante was a member of the Tigers from his rookie year in 2002 until 2007, when the Tigers traded him to the Cubs for outfielder Jacque Jones. This turned out to be one of the bigger trade disappointments in recent Tigers' history.
According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Marlins are talking with the Tigers about a possible deal that would send Infante back to Detroit.
Infante would fill a much-needed second base void that the Tigers have experienced this season. Detroit's second basemen have combined for a sub-.200 average with two home runs and 24 RBI. The 30-year-old Infante is batting .284 with eight home runs and 33 RBI.
He would fill the position and exceed what Tiger fans have expected out of their second basemen this season.
Update: This trade has occurred, according to The New York Times.
Although the Tigers are interested in Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke, they may not have enough to offer. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBtraderumors.com, the Tigers may be interested in Greinke—although there are teams with more to offer.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, the Tigers are still looking for a starting pitcher, although they may not be serious contenders for Greinke.
The 28-year-old Greinke would give the Tigers a boost in the rotation. Greinke is 9-3 with a 3.57 ERA this season and is among the league leaders in strikeouts.