Detroit Tigers: Deals That Could Take Tigers to World Series in 2012
All things considered, the Detroit Tigers had a successful season. Many sporting news outlets and magazines had predicted the Tigers to finish second or worse in the American League Central division prior to the 2011 MLB season.
But the Tigers did a heck a lot more than finishing second. They not only won the AL Central, but they went all the way to within two games of the World Series. Being one of the final four remaining MLB teams shouldn't be considered a failure.
Knowing this, the Tigers' weaknesses were exploited during the American League Championship Series against Texas. A dismal bullpen, along with speed and defensive problems arose during their playoff run.
The Tigers have filled two roles, bringing back catcher Gerald Laird to backup starting catcher Alex Avila. Also, second baseman Ramon Santiago was re-signed yesterday afternoon to a new two-year deal.
Still, many questions linger for the Tigers and general manager Dave Dombrowski this upcoming winter and off-season. Solid relief pitchers are needed. A stronger, more solidified starting rotation will help as well. A solid third basemen is also going to be a huge need for this organization if they want to take that leap further into the postseason next season.
Finally, the main problem that has really haunted the Tigers the past few years is speed. This team has had a lack of speed for some time now, which is essential to a long playoff run, as there is a widespread use of "small ball" in the playoffs.
The following 10 players are players whom I believe that Dave Dombrowski should seriously consider, considering this city of Detroit is hungry for a World Series championship.
I mean, it has been 27 years.
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
If the Tigers have one main need during the off-season, it's signing a full-time third baseman. And, if they were to spend a considerable amount of money on a player, this position would be the one. One free agent that many teams will be pursuing will be Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
He will command a lot of money in the open market as well, seeing as he had a stellar year, batting .306, while hitting 26 home runs and driving in 93 runs. He would provide solid hitting at the plate, and would be a perfect candidate to hit third in Detroit's batting order in front of the formidable Miguel Cabrera.
Jose Reyes, SS
Hey, why not?
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has the money, and would definitely fork it over to Dave Dombrowski if he believes Reyes would come to Detroit.
If this does occur though, do not expect the Tigers to do much else other than beefing up the bullpen. Reyes would suck out much of Detroit's funding, since he'll most likely command over $100 million in his contract.
Yet, if the Tigers obtained Reyes, it would be the best available upgrade out of any free agent possibility. Reyes can lead-off and get on base. His .337 batting average was good enough for the 2011 National League Batting Title. This would also take pressure off of Austin Jackson by not leading off and dropping him down the order. Reyes also has speed that is second to none and is a sure-fire fielder.
My chances of Reyes coming to Motown? Five percent.
Mark Buehrle, SP
Chicago White Sox fans do not want Mark Buehrle to leave the team he's been with for the past 11 years, but it seems like it's time for a change. He's already been contacted by the Tigers as well as other teams such as the newly changed Miami Marlins
The Tigers are in desperate need of another left-handed starting pitcher to solidify an already decent starting rotation. Buehrle is not a flashy pitcher of the likes of Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander, but he's always been known to get the job done. He has "the art of pitching" down to a tee, and knows simply how to win.
If the Tigers want to raise the World Series trophy in November of 2012, the Tigers need someone who has that "late in the year" experience. Buehrle certainly has those intangibles.
It'd be nice to see a longtime Detroit rival become an ally; a powerful ally.
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Already dubbed the "Cuban centipede" by the sports radio hosts throughout Detroit, Cespedes is someone that the Tigers should seriously consider bidding for this offseason.
Cespedes, who recently defected from Cuba in order to play in the MLB, will fetch a decent amount of money though. Reports have stated that the bidding war for Cespedes will eventually fetch at least $30 million total.
Signing the center fielder would certainly address the speed problem. He is 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds and can still run the 60-yard dash in only 6.5 seconds. Also, since Cespedes is an outfielder, shipping out Delmon Young could be a viable option if Cespedes is brought in.
The Tigers would then have a great defensive outfield next season, while also addressing the speed issue, in addition to a new lead-off hitter.
The only blip on the Cespedes radar is this: you never know what to expect at the plate until he actually starts his at-bats. Signing Cespedes is a total shot in the dark. Yes, he may have looked amazing on film playing back in Cuba, but playing and producing in the MLB is different.
Joel Peralta, RP
A solid relief man, Joel Peralta has had two stellar seasons in a row. As a setup man and late relief man for the Rays this past season, he's put up some quite impressive numbers.
He sported a .92 WHIP with 61 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 71 appearances. A 2.93 ERA also proved that Peralta can come in and get the job done in crunch time.
Peralta would be the perfect fit to come in in relief before current Tigers setup man Joaquin Benoit enters in the eighth inning.
Coco Crisp, CF
It seems as if the Tigers are already interested in bringing in the outfielder.
Signing a player like Coco Crisp would definitely help the speed issue in Detroit. I know the Oakland Athletics would love to have him back, but taking Crisp at a good price just might be worth it.
If Crisp is signed though, he should not be a full-time starter. The center field job remains Austin Jackson's for the time being. Crisp could platoon at right field, pinch hit and pinch run when needed. If an injury is sustained in the outfield, Crisp would be the perfect and ideal replacement.
Crisp's 49 steals ranked second in the entire MLB and first in the American league. His .264 batting average was solid enough to be an effective player for a contending team
Seth Smith, LF
The Colorado Rockies outfielder Seth Smith would be a solid addition if all else fails in their attempts at fulfilling an open outfield spot.
Smith is on Colorado's trading block, why not bring him in? He would not cost much at all, mainly losing minor leaguers in the process. Smith could come off the bench, or could platoon at the left and right field spots