Though Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Carlos Guillen could be their big pre-deadline deal if he finds his old hitting form, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said their search for hitting on the trade market doesn’t end now that Guillen is back. They’re still looking for help, and they’ll still be looking at hitters who would fit at designated hitter, even though Guillen is a DH for now.
“I don’t really know that it’ll make a significant difference one way or the other,” Dombrowski said Friday when asked how Guillen’s performance the next week or so would impact their talks. “He’s going to be able to hit. I don’t know how his timing is going to be, but we know he’s a good big-league hitter. We’ll still continue to have talks with clubs, one way or the other.”
That said, Dombrowski added, “We’re looking for a bat. As you start talking with clubs, which we’ve been doing a lot of, a lot of the players that are available are DHs. In our mindset, we think he might have as good of one as anybody. Not that he’s going to be limited to DH in the long run, but right now, he’s ready to hit.”
The Tigers had interest in Matt Holliday before the A’s dealt him to the Cardinals Friday. But at this point, they’re looking at a lot of hitters potentially on the market. CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler’s reports that a Tigers scout was watching the Nationals, where Adam Dunn ranks as arguably the top bat on the market if GM Mike Rizzo chooses to deal him. Another lower-profile possibility could be Josh Willingham, who fits the power-hitting profile but also fits into a corner outfield spot.
The Tigers are also believed to have looked at hitters outside the outfield/DH types.
That said, Dombrowski emphasized what others have said, that trading for a hitter isn’t a cure-all to the Tigers’ hitting woes.
“I believe [the offense] is better than what it’s been performing. And a lot of it has to come internally. I just think that some guys that we have are better hitters. They’re just not swinging real well right now, for whatever reason. We’ve faced some tough pitching, maybe they’re in a slump, some combination of all of it. I think sometimes you get lost in these situations.
“It’s not like we’re playing bad baseball. We’re just in a hitting funk right now. I think we’ll be OK. I think with Carlos Guillen, that’s a significant addition to your lineup.”
— Jason Beck
Considering the Tigers’ offensive woes, including another 2-1 loss Wednesday to the M’s, perhaps it isn’t a Halladay Detroit needs, but a Holliday. The San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday that several teams had scouts this week in Oakland, where Matt Holliday put on a hitting display over three games against the Twins. The Mercury News names the Tigers and Giants among teams “known to have at least a degree of interest” in Holliday.
The Tigers have had internal discussions about Holliday, but their level of interest likely depends on how much the A’s demand in return. The Tigers arguably don’t have the depth in their farm system to offer Oakland enough talent to top the two First-Year Player Draft picks the A’s would receive if they lose Holliday as a free agent this winter instead of dealing him now.
For now, that doesn’t seem to be enough. Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal suggests the Tigers would need to include lefty pitching prospect Casey Crosby, which is a deal-breaker for Detroit. Though Crosby was a fifth-round Draft pick in 2007, the same year the Tigers selected Rick Porcello in the first round, they view Crosby with top-round talent.
For now, no deal appears to be close for the Tigers, on Holliday or anyone. Any deal they make will likely come in the final days leading up to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, given their history over the past several years.
“Normally if [president/general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] gets something going, he’ll fill me in on it,” manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday about Tigers dealings in general. “But we haven’t had any conversations about that.”
Again, Carlos Guillen’s situation could impact any decision the Tigers make on offense. He began the Triple-A portion of his Minor League rehab stint Wednesday at Toledo, and he could return as soon as this weekend. That would give Tigers officials at least the three-game series at Texas through next Wednesday to evaluate him and figure out how much he can help. That said, the Tigers could use more offense with or without Guillen.
— Jason Beck