Detroit Tigers Dissector: 2010 Free Agent Possibilities

Johnny LawrenceCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

Welcome to Rudy Dominick and Johnny Lawrence's Week 18 installment of Detroit Tigers information and analysis. Each Thursday, we will delve into all things Tigers.

Read and digest, or skim and spit out our insightful banter.

Keep An Eye On...

Nate Bump, Starting Pitcher—Toledo Mud Hens (AAA)
(Since July 7)
4-0, 33.1 IP, 30 H, 8 BB, 15 K, 2.97 ERA

Drive-By Argument: Detroit Deadline Moves, Success or Failure?

DOMINICK: Success. Jarrod Washburn's arrival gives the Tigers a trio as imposing as any rotation in the big leagues.

He fills two much needed areas Detroit lacked: a quality left-hander and veteran pitcher on the staff.

To top things off, Washburn ran a 3-1 record against AL Central teams this season with a 0.78 ERA, 21 strikeouts, and just four walks in 34.1 innings.

Regarding the players Detroit lost, Luke French came out of nowhere to give Detroit a lift, but wasn't expected to contribute in the long haul. So really nothing was lost.

And Maurico Robles is talented, but had question marks weighing only 160 lbs. at Single-A Lakeland.

Tiger fans should be hoping this veteran lefty can ensure more Detroit police officers will get assaulted with champagne as Kenny Rogers did in the 2006 playoffs.

Detroit was a big winner and hopefully can retain Washburn at season's end to negate the Chicago White Sox new addition Jake Peavy.

LAWRENCE: Failure. Detroit didn't only fail to acquire a bat, they lost their only speed in Josh Anderson when the Royals claimed him off waivers.

Sure Washburn was a nice addition, but look at how poor the offense is performing.

Fact: The Tigers rank 10th or lower in the American League in batting average, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases.

Fact: One everyday player is batting above .270 (Miguel Cabrera).

Fact: Clete Thomas protects Cabrera in the lineup. Yes, I said Clete Thomas.

Does that lineup strike fear into you, Rudy?

Tiger pitching will stack up nicely down the home stretch, so let's pray for a meaningful waiver wire claim from general manager Dave Dombrowski to help support our team.

What To Do With Magglio's Money?

Since June 28, Magglio Ordonez's batting average has held steady.

The only problem is it's still unimpressive.

For six weeks, Ordonez has bounced between .258 and .265. This tightly-woven standstill is less than encouraging, and Magglio's fate needs to be determined within the next few weeks.

Will he produce like a $15 million-a-year player in the second half, or will the Tigers release him to avoid future contractual obligations?

If Ordonez takes the plate another 222 times, Detroit must pay him $18 million next season, and $15 million the year after.

That's $33 million for a sharply declining hitter on an offensively lackluster squad.

To accurately analyze what decision Dombrowski should make, let's look outside of Detroit at the free agents available in next year's class who could replace Maggs or fill other holes on the roster.

Chone Figgins, Jason Bay, Matt Hollliday, and Carl Crawford may test the free agent market this winter. 
Brandon Webb, Erik Bedard, Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer, John Lackey, Cliff Lee, as well as new-Tiger Jarrod Washburn are potential options for the rotation. 

Would the Tigers receive the better value in a returning Magglio, or Figgins, Crawford or a combination of free agents?

Figgins is a switch hitting speedster with 31 stolen bases and a .308 AVG along with a versatility unmatched by most.  Also advantageous, he has manned every fielding position on the diamond except first base and catcher.

Crawford would inject speed into the lineup though it remains unlikely his $10 million team option would be declined by the Tampa Bay Rays.

It's production versus past results.

Clearly, Detroit needs a hitter to protect Cabrera. Ordonez has not fulfilled the role this season opening the door to new possibilities.

A slugger in the mold of Jason Bay or Matt Holliday would ensure protection for Cabrera, but would require $8-$14 million per season.

In the infield, Placido Polanco turns free agent at season's end and his Tiger future remains in doubt.

Polanco has been a staple of consistency with a career .302 average, but it seems his age (33) may be starting to catch up to him highlighted by his current .039 point decline this year.

Youngster Scott Sizemore, Detroit's future second baseman is unproven at the major league level and appears to have fielding deficiencies with six errors in 42 games at Triple-A Toledo.

In 2007, the Tigers acquired slugger Gary Sheffield to stirke fear into opposing pitchers. This offseason, Detroit needs to execute a similar move.

The sudden decline of several Detroit veterans has shown that it's time to bid farewell to over-paid, under-productive players.   

Favorable Matchups

August 7: DET Armando Galarraga vs. MIN Delmon Young (.118, 2-for-17, .167 OBP).

August 8: DET Justin Verlander vs. MIN Michael Cuddyer (.167, 4-for-24, 1 XBH).

August 8: DET Carlos Guillen vs. MIN Glen Perkins (.500, 5-for-10, 1 HR).

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