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It's Fun, at Least

Coming off a pretty awful performance by the Tigers, a 9-6 loss to the Royals, fans needed something to discuss other than sloppy fielding, baserunning and pitching. Luckily Tigers fans found excitement in various rumors regarding Nationals OF Alfonso Soriano. All you have to do is read down a couple of posts on BYB and see that Soriano's name has been of interest, but it really became a rumor last night.

I'll admit it. I was glued to the monitor participating in the message boards over at MotownTigers discussing possibilities of trade that were heard from questionable sources. For the most part I was not fully sold on either of these rumors, but it's just so much fun to think of hypothetical situations that involve big-time talent.

The first rumor was started via the Tigers message board at ESPN.com. This rumor involved the Tigers trading minor league pitcher Humberto Sanchez and IF Omar Infante to the Nationals for Soriano. This is an intriguing idea just because it involves Sanchez, who recently started the MLB Futures game. Sanchez has been tearing up minor league batting for the most part. Here are his 2006 stats in the Tigers minor leagues:

AA Erie: 5-3, 1.76 ERA, 86 K, 27 BB
AAA Toledo: 5-2, 3.19 ERA, 35 K, 14 BB

A lot of rumors this year have involved Sanchez just because he could be considered our best minor league pitching prospect. Although the future may be bright for Humberto, I would do this deal for Soriano in a heartbeat. The reason I say this is because of all of the other pitchers in the Tigers system that seem to be developing well...guys like Jurrjens and Tata. I think that our pitching prospects may be expendable, as long as we do not go overboard. Dombrowski has had a history of building pitching-rich farm systems, so I trust his judgement in making moves with the young guys.

Omar Infante is a fairly solid utility infielder, but nothing to go out of your way to protect. This season he is hitting .261/.302/.387 in 37 games. His stats aren't too special. He's still young, but very expendable at this point. Infante combined with Sanchez is really not too much considering who the Tigers would be getting in return.

Overall, if this rumor is true (which probably isn't), I would have absolutely no problem shipping these two guys off for a rent-a-player in Alfonso Soriano. No problem at all. Keep in mind that if Soriano did truly become a rental and bolted at the end of the season, the Tigers would receive a couple sandwich picks for this guy. This would almost be a steal for DD and the Tigers.

The second rumor, which could be even more out there than this one, was one that included Dmitri Young, Craig Monroe and a prospect for Soriano. The prospect would more than likely be, once again, Humberto Sanchez. I, for one, don't believe that this is even logical. If Nationals GM Jim Bowden were to accept this as a trade for his star OF, I have strong feelings he would be run out of town (and that's considering some other questionable decisions he has made as a GM). Dmitri Young is rehabbing his way back to the Major Leagues, Craig Monroe is struggling to reach base overall, and once again we have expendable starting pitching prospects in the minors.

The fact that Craig Monroe is involved in this trade brings up an interesting point. One of the driving factors to the Tigers receiving another bat for this lineup is due to Craig Monroe and his inability to achieve a formidable OBP. Right now it is stuck at .278, with Monroe only drawing 13 BB this season. One argument against the Tigers trading for Alfonso Soriano is the fact that he, like Monroe, isn't an on-base machine. Tigers fans would much rather see a guy like Bobby Abreu on the team, who draws BB and has a much higher OBP. Soriano is now at a .348 OBP and draws more walks than Craig Monroe, but still has never been known to be a high OBP kind of hitter.

It will be an interesting couple of weeks headed up to the trade deadline. Whether or not the Tigers trade for Alfonso Soriano, I still have a feeling it will be a lot of fun to check out all of the rumors and think of all of the hypothetical lineups teams can put together. Soriano would be a great and exciting addition to the Tigers lineup because of his explosive, home run heavy offense - especially if either of these above rumors come true.