The State of the Detroit Tigers

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJune 17, 2009

CHICAGO - JUNE 08: Manager Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers watches as his team takes on the Chicago White Sox on June 8, 2009 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As we approach the All-Star break, the 2009 MLB season has yet to disappoint. Some players, such as Aaron Hill, have defied all odds by getting off to excellent starts, while others, such as Garrett Atkins, have been abysmal.


Teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox are elite once again, while teams like the Nationals and Orioles remain cellar-dwellers. But this year, the surprising story is the Detroit Tigers.


Heading into the season, many experts projected the Tigers to finish all over the standings. Their 2008 season was one of the most disappointing performances in baseball history and coming into this year, the team didn't look much, if any, better than last year's team.


With the additions of Edwin Jackson, Adam Everett, and Gerald Laird, it seemed as though Tigers President Dave Dombrowski was trying to fill large voids with decent talent. His decision to trade for Jackson looks to be promising thus far, but Laird is the worst hitter in the starting lineup and Everett's not much better.


Consistency is the Tigers' biggest enemy. There are times where they look like a playoff team and there are times where they look like a high school team. Even though the Tigers are in first place in the weakest division in recent memory, the Minnesota Twins are only a couple games behind the Tigers and are closing in quickly due to the Tigers' recent dry spell.


There are moves to be made for these Detroit Tigers, because this is not a playoff team and if Dombrowski wishes to redeem himself after the 2008 season, he's got some work to do.


Now, before I even speculate on what he could search for from now until the trade deadline, Tigers' fans have to realize something. There is nobody on this team that is either expendable or yields any value. Obviously, Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera are going nowhere. None of the Tigers' fielders are going to be traded and the pitching staff is as good as it would ever be.


The Tigers' Minor League system is rather slim, with only a couple guys that would draw any interest. Wilkin Ramirez is the lone player who could possibly fetch an already-established player to help the Tigers, but other than that, it's slim picking.


There are rumors about the Tigers targeting Corey Hart, but his numbers aren't much better than the Tigers' current outfield.


Magglio Ordonez needs to be released as soon as possible because as it stands, he's the worst defensive right fielder in baseball, and he's hit nothing but singles. Ordonez hasn't hit a home run in 38 games.


As for the Tigers' starting pitching situation, there's not going to be much that they can do to heal that wound.  Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman are both at the end of their careers, and nobody's going to want either one of them. 


The Tigers' bullpen, while not necessarily the greatest, has been as productive as ever.


Pedro Martinez is the lone free agent option at this point, and while I don't think he's a bad pitcher, I'm not sure if it's going to make the difference.  The Tigers haven't even been rumored to be interested in Martinez.


There were other rumors circulating about targeting Roy Halladay, but if it's going to take Rick Porcello to get Halladay, it's probably not worth it. Potentially, a package of Wilkin Ramirez, Ryan Perry and, if need be, the Tigers' recent first-round pick Jacob Turner would do the trick.


A rotation of Halladay, Verlander, Jackson, and Porcello would be the best in baseball and could offset any horrendous numbers that the Tigers' offense puts up.


As I said before, there aren't many moves that the Detroit Tigers can make to bolster their lineup in the hunt to win the American League Central Division.  Any move that can be made would require the Tigers to overpay, which is not something they can afford at this point. 


Regardless of what Dombrowski does at this point, the future is bleak.  In the next few years, the Tigers could be back to the Tigers of the 90s, which nobody wants to remember.


So, I ask the readers, what would you do with the 2009 Detroit Tigers?