The Detroit Tigers Need a Bat: Five Options at the Deadline
As the 2009 trade deadline quickly approaches, many teams are scurrying around to find that extra player or two that could put them over the edge and on pace to play in October.
The July 31 deadline brought Kyle Farnsworth and Sean Casey to the Detroit Tigers in the past few seasons.
This season, the Tigers are looking to add a solid bat to the middle or bottom third of an already stacked lineup. With Magglio Ordonez in the biggest slump of his life and Carlos Guillen on the disabled list, the Tigers' corner outfield is depleted.
The premier option is to add a corner outfielder, but any other position hitters could work too, as they could place them at designated hitter and keep Ordonez and Marcus Thames at the corners.
Detroit needs a bat, especially from the left-handed side of the plate. Here are five candidates that could call Detroit their home soon.
Adam Dunn (OF, Washington Nationals)
2009 Stats: .260 BA, 20 HR, 56 RBI, .924 OPS
I believe Adam Dunn is the best option for the Tigers right now. Dunn is in the first year of a two-year, $20 million contract with the Washington Nationals, who are clearly sellers this season.
Dunn is one of the most prolific home run hitters in the game today, but his downside is that it's normally feast or famine. He either hits a home run or strikes out.
Since he has played in the National League his entire career, Dunn hasn't had much time to hit in the designated hitter role. An AL team has to jump on the opportunity to have him only bat and not have to worry about his fielding ability.
In his little time hitting in the DH role, he has a .296 average with a 1.097 OPS. Also, if he can work into a 3-1 count, he slugs .397 with a jaw-dropping OPS of 1.717.
Aubrey Huff (1B/DH, Baltimore Orioles)
2009 Stats: .275 BA, 10 HR, 52 RBI, .792 OPS
In 2008, Aubrey Huff made a name for himself after hitting .304 with 32 home runs and over 100 runs batted. From the left side of the plate, he terrorized right-handed pitching.
Huff has mainly played first base, third base, and designated hitter over his career with the Devil Rays, Astros, and Orioles. Since the Tigers have an All-Star in Miguel Cabrera and a solid all-around talent in Brandon Inge at the corner infield spots, that isn't what the Tigers are looking for.
If traded to Detroit, Huff would move into the desginated hitter role for the rest of the 2009 season, where he hits .289 lifetime. To acquire Huff, Detroit would most likely have to trade away a major league-ready pitcher, since Baltimore doesn't have much of a pitching staff.
A trade of Armando Galarraga is possible, but Nate Robertson is ruled out because his expensive contract would not work well with the Orioles' limited cap space.
If Huff came to Detroit at the deadline, it would look very similar to the Casey deal that the Tigers completed a few years back. They both have very good contact from the left side.
Luke Scott (OF, Baltimore Orioles)
2009 Stats: .298 BA, 14 HR, 39 RBI, .921 OPS
If you can't stop 'em, trade for 'em, right?
Luke Scott has been the Tigers' killer for the past three seasons. Since 2006, he has powered his way to a .542 average versus Detroit. Five of his six hits versus Detroit this season have been home runs, including a grand slam.
His possible new home, Comerica Park, is a pitcher's ballpark, right? Not for Luke Scott. His career in the Motor City: .545 average with a 1.916 OPS, two doubles, and two home runs in 11 at-bats.
Scott can play anywhere in the outfield. If Detroit added him, he could play left or right on a daily basis, which gives Marcus Thames the ability to stay out of the field and just worry about hitting.
Dan Uggla (2B, Florida Marlins)
2009 Stats: .224 BA, 15 HR, 45 RBI, .778 OPS
This is probably the most unlikely option out of these five players.
Dan Uggla is one of the better all-around second baseman in the game today. With the Marlins having yet another poor season, the Fish are looking to deal him away.
With Placido Polanco in the final year of his contract and not expected to be re-signed, Uggla could be the answer to the Tigers' questions at second base for next season. A deal for Uggla could help the lineup this season and down the road.
Uggla would have to compete for the starting job for the rest of the season with Polanco at second, but he could also be another option to hit in the DH spot of the lineup.
He would hit in the lower third of the lineup, possibly seventh, where he has hit .375 with a 1.545 OPS in his career.
Nick Johnson (1B, Washington Nationals)
2009 Stats: .295 BA, 5 HR, 33 RBI, .817 OPS
The Tigers have looked at Nick Johnson the past few seasons when the trade deadline neared, but they never pulled the trigger on the big first baseman.
Because Johnson only has the ability to play first and designated hitter, he would have to be the DH because of Cabrera's presence.
The Nationals just made a deal with the Pirates that sent closer Joel Hanrahan to Pittsburgh. This might mean that Detroit will have to give up a long reliever like Robertson or a middle reliever like Brandon Lyon and one other player to get a deal done.
Johnson would most likely hit either fifth or sixth in the Detroit lineup. In the five-hole, his lifetime average is .299.
Johnson has also played a little left field, so that may be something to think about for Jim Leyland and Dave Domrbowski.