Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Answering the Detroit Tigers burning questions: A lost weekend in Baltimore edition

With Detroit on the edge of contention at 5.5 games back of Chicago, and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Tigers will soon have some big decisions to make. It also means it's time for another round of burning questions.

Any thoughts regarding the umpiring in Baltimore?

The missed calls were so blatantly bad Tim Donaghy could only shake his head, and say, "I should have been an umpire instead." Still, it wasn't the umpire's fault the Tigers lost very winnable games on Friday and Saturday.

Any thoughts on Nate Robertson? 

Only NSFW ones after Saturday's debacle in Baltimore. An inexcusable outing. Ugly is too nice a word for it.

Any other thoughts on the weekend? 

Not really. I'd just like to forget it ever happened. Even though the long weekend in Baltimore ended in a split, it felt as if the Tigers lost the series. Considering the ongoing struggles of the White Sox (4-6 in their last 10 games), the Tigers blew a golden opportunity to make up a serious amount of ground in the standings.

This is just another instance of the Tigers shooting themselves in the foot. Something that has become an all too common occurrence in 2008.

Apparently the Tigers took out their frustrations on the Royals, scoring 19 runs last night. A sign of things to come, or the exception rather than the rule?

You can admit it. You're expecting the Tigers to fall flat tonight too. Unfortunately, it's been their season long M.O. I'd like to think the offensive explosion is a sign of things to come, but we've seen the Tigers follow up big games by doing absolutely nothing in the next far too often.

So the question everyone seems to be asking is, "Are the Tigers buyers or sellers at the deadline?"

So what if they are?

So answer the question, smart ass!

It depends.

That's your answer? 

Yep. It depends.

It depends on several things. It depends upon how the Tigers do over the next 9 games. It depends if they win the next few series against the Royals, White Sox and Tribe. It depends if the Tigers are within spitting distance of the division lead before July 31st.

It really depends upon this coming weekend's series with the Sox. On Monday, the Tigers could find themselves fully in the hunt for the division lead with the Sox and Twinkies, only 2 or 3 games back. Or they could be licking their often self-inflicted wounds while on the look out for trading partners.

So, it depends.

Since we're talking hypotheticals, let's say over the next week and change, God forbid, the Tigers fold up shop and find themselves closer last place than first place in the division at the end of the month. Who would the Tigers look to unload?

1. Pudge Rodriguez: MLB caliber catching is always at a premium, and Pudge is having a solid season. There would definitely be a market for him. From all accounts, such as the inquiry into Pudge's availability by the Marlins, there already is a market for his services.

For that matter, the Tigers' brain trust may have already made the decision to move on in 2009 with the light hitting reluctant Tiger, Brandon Inge, behind the plate.

2. Magglio Ordonez: I'd HATE to see it happen, I don't want it to happen, I doubt it would happen, but moving Ordonez is in the realm of possibility if the Tigers end up as sellers. He's still an extremely productive hitter who is under contract for a few more years on a deal becoming more affordable by the day, thanks to baseball's insane marketplace. There also the fact the Tigers' system are developing some young outfielders (Matt Joyce, "The Cult of" Clete Thomas, Brent Clevlen, Wilkin Ramirez) who may be ready for prime time sooner (Much sooner in the case of the blisteringly hot Joyce) than later.

I'm not saying they could easily replace Magglio, but he could bring a huge haul of players/prospects in return.

3. Todd Jones: A man can dream, can't he?

4. Ryan Raburn: Not that he would fetch much in return on his own, I can easily see Raburn as part of a trade package. His ability to play all over the field could have teams, especially those in the NL, interested in his services.

If the Tigers are buying at the deadline, what would they be looking to obtain?

That's an easy question. Pitching, pitching, pitching and pitching. Then some more pitching. Starter, reliever, makes no difference as they could use both. Did I say pitching? Because they could use some pitching! Seriously, get some pitching.

Anything else you want to add, blogger-boy?

We'll know a Hell of a lot more about the direction of the Tigers' future by this time next week. For better or worse, their fortunes may be set in stone by then. That's just how important the upcoming week will be for Detroit.

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