Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Soriano to the Tigers? Make it happen!

The rumor mill is grinding away. First it was Bobby Abreu in the mill, but another rumor is gaining steam. Alfonso Soriano to the Tigers talk is everywhere. To use one of Pat Caputo's favorite lines, "The guy can rake!"

Even though he's not a LH bat, Soriano would add some much needed punch to the order. Soriano to the Tigers could be the equivalent of the Pistons getting Rasheed Wallace. In other words, the final piece to the puzzle. Even better, it would eliminate the need to have Dmitri Young wear the Olde English D again. Sounds like a plan to me.

You'd think most people would feel the same way, but if you check out the message boards, many Tiger fans don't want to make the deal. Why? Because they are afraid of losing the next John Smoltz. WHAT?

Jessus H. Christ people! It was 19 years ago! Let it go. Just. Let. It. Go.

The odds of the prospects brought up in a possible trade (A combination of Humberto Sanchez, Jair Jurgens, Jordan Tata, Brent Cleven, Nook Logan being most often mentioned) becoming a Hall of Fame caliber player are longer than the trail of beer cans behind Da Meat Hook. What happened with John Smoltz was a fluke. A once in a generation trade that backfired in the long term. But you cannot forget, that in the short term, the Smoltz for Doyle Alexander trade also won the Tigers their last division title. No one in their right mind would have guessed that Smoltz would become an all world hurler. No one, and you're lying if you say otherwise.

Isn't the reason to develop a surplus of prospects is to be able to trade them for prime major league talent? To get the final piece to a championship caliber team? You hear fans talk that Sanchez is the next coming of Justin Verlander. Look up his stats, and you see he's only been effective for the first half of this season. The rest of his minor league career has been inconsistent, to be generous. Sanchez's value will never be higher, and the Tigers have young pitching to burn.

Fans also fall into the trap of overvaluing their own players. You think a Nats fan is thrilled to hear that Sanchez, Tata, and Cleven are being dangled for a stud hitter? More likely they are saying, "Who in the Hell are they? In exchange for Soriano? You're kidding! Fire Millen the GM!" Much in the same way many fans were upset that the Tigers only received Carlos Pena, Franlyn German, and...oh yeah...Jeremy Bonderman, for Wobb Parker's favorite pitcher, Jeff "I'm on my 5th team in 5 years" Weaver.

You'll hear the arguement that the Tigers already have a bat under contract, with Young in the minors. That he's the answer, and he won't cost anything more than the 8 million he's already owed. Unless the question is where to find liquor stores, and the cost being clubhouse harmony, I don't think so.

People forget that it takes something of value to get something of value. Soriano is going to come at a price, and that price is more than Craig Monroe and a bat bag. MLB GM's just don't give away talent. Unless you're Brian Sabean.

Soriano isn't perfect. He's a free swinger who would be joining a team of free swingers. He's a free agent to be, so Soriano could be just a 2+ month rental. He's not exactly a gold glover in the field. But Soriano's a known quanity at the plate, he can play more than one position, you may be able to entice him to stay long term, and he's not Dmitri Young.

Every trade is a risk. But considering the stakes, those being winning a division crown and making postseason noise, the rewards outweigh that risk.


  1. Interesting thoughts... I'm not sure Soriano is the best fit for Detroit. They need more table-setters I think, which isn't really Soriano's game. I guess it all depends on the prospects they'd give up (which I don't know much about).

    Should be an interesting summer in the AL Central

  2. I'm really waffling on this one. I agree with twins15 about Soriano not necessarily being the best fit. But would the Tigers be a better team with Soriano in their lineup? Oh yeah.

    I'd rather the Tigers give up one, not three, top prospects, but if you were to pin me down on it, Maybin's the only one in the organization I'd consider untouchable, as he's a position player, not a pitcher.

    So let's see what DD's got.

  3. Guys,
    Take it from a Nationals blogger. Alfonso Soriano is something special. When we traded Brad Wilkerson (and two so-so minor leaguers) for Soriano last December, 90% of the Nats' blog-0-sphere hated the trade.

    This is my 40th year watching baseball, and I can say with certainty that there are only a handful of "special" players in the NL right now. Soriano is one of them. His defense, which was terrible early in the year, is above average now. He is probably the most liked team-mate in the clubhouse.

    Even if Sanchez IS the next John Smoltz, I guarantee you that Soriano isn't the next Doyle Alexander. He's a guy you want to build around, and he always wants to sign with the team he's with at the moment. Remember, Jim Bowden screwed him over six ways from Sunday over the winter, and yet, even with Bowden getting a long term deal, Soriano says he wants to stay in D.C. If you guys give him some love, and if you do well in the playoffs, I'll bet you he signs with the Tigers in the off season if Dombrowski wants him.

    Congrats on a great season.