Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has said the Tigers will be aggressive this offseason. He has already locked up Brandon Inge and will have a deal in place for SS Jhonny Peralta. This will allow Dombrowski to focus on the big bat the Tigers need in their lineup. If I was the GM these are the two moves I would attempt to make this offseason.
I believe pitching wins, and the Tigers have three of the best young pitchers in baseball. They also have one thing in common; they're right handed. The Tigers need a lefty, and there just so happens to be a lefty on the market: Cliff Lee.
I know the chances are remote at best. However, if the Tigers were to offer Lee a front loaded, six-year, $145-150 million deal, he'd listen. Front loading the contract allows the Tigers to have more flexibility as their young players reach arbitration.
The Tigers rotation would look something like this. Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke (or a young pitcher allowing Coke to return to the 'pen). They would have without doubt one of the top, if not the top, rotations in all of baseball.
To address the need of a power bat to hit behind Miguel Cabrera I would look to the trade front. The Milwaukee Brewers have been open about looking to trade slugging first baseman Prince Fielder. Fielder will be a free agent after the 2011 season, so the Tigers would want an extension before agreeing to the deal.
Who would they send? I would put together a package which would include Andy Oliver, Jay Sborz, Ryan Strieby (or Brennan Boesch) and Ryan Raburn or Casper Wells.
A heavy price? Yes, but well worth it. Field had an off year (32 hrs, 83 RBI and .261 BA), but that would have double the next closest HR total the tigers had, and would have been the leader outside Cabrera for RBI.
For Detroit, Fielder would be the DH, except to give Cabrera a day off. The other thing this could do is enable the Tigers to resign Magglio Ordonez to a reasonable contract (two years, $11-15 million). The Tigers lineup would look like this: (2010 stats in parenthesis)
1. (CF) Austin Jackson (.293, 181 H, 27 SB)
2. (2B) Will Rhymes/Scott Sizemore (.304, 12 doubles, 191 ABs)/(.224, seven doubles, three HR, 43 ABs)
3. (RF) Magglio Ordonez (.303, 12 HR, 59 RBI)
4. (1B) Miguel Cabrera (.328, 38 HR, 126 RBI)
5. (DH) Prince Fielder (.261, 32 HR, 83 RBI)
6. (SS) Jhonny Peralta (.249, 15 HR, 81 RBI)
7. (LF) Ryan Raburn/Brennen Boesch (.280, 15 HR 62 RBI)/(.256, 14 HR, 67 RBI)
8. (3B) Brandon Inge (.247, 13 HR, 70 RBI)
9. (C) Alex Avila (.228, seven HR, 31 RBI).
The pitching rotation would look like this: (Lee and Verlander could be switched)
1. Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.37 ERA, 219 Ks)
2. Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA, 185 Ks)
3. Max Scherzer (12-11, 3.50 ERA, 184 Ks)
4. Rick Porcello (10-12, 4.92 ERA, 84 Ks)
5. Phil Coke (7-5, 3.76 ERA, 53 Ks)*
If Detroit was able to make these moves I believe they would be a front runner for the American League Pennant and would challenge for the World Series Title, not only this year, but for future as well.
*Pitched in the bullpen.