After days of hearing that the Detroit Tigers had made a notable trade proposal to the Pittsburgh Pirates for shortstop Jack Wilson, no information had been released regarding which players might actually have been offered in exchange. But yesterday, it was revealed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates would like either outfielder Matt Joyce or infielder Jeff Larish included in such a deal.
Of the two, Joyce would seem to be a better fit for the Pirates' current roster, as Pittsburgh looks to be in need of a corner outfielder, while their corner infield spots are manned by LaRoches - Adam at first base, Andy at third. Larish, however, could provide depth at either spot, or perhaps get a shot in left field.
Looking at it from the Pirates' side, our SB Nation broham Bucs Dugout isn't too high on Larish, and doesn't see why the Tigers would give up Joyce:
I'd pass on Larish, who's already 26 and wasn't overly impressive last year in AAA. Joyce, who played well in both AAA and the majors last year as a 23-year-old, would be a good return indeed--probably way too good. I can't believe the Tigers would part with a young power hitter like that in exchange for Wilson, even if they took on some of Wilson's salaries.
The big reason either player would be available, of course, is that both look to be blocked out of the Tigers' lineup, with well-paid veterans manning the corners in both the infield and outfield (and at designated hitter). But with questions about Carlos Guillen taking over in left field next season, it would seem prudent to keep Joyce around as a fourth outfielder in case Guillen shows a lack of range or his legs act up on him.
As Sean asks at Trumbull and Michigan, is either player really worth giving up for Wilson? Even if he supposedly provides a defensive upgrade at shortstop, does the overall depth of the roster suffer? Of course, if neither Larish or Joyce is playing much, what good is their talent to the Tigers? You build depth in an organization to take that surplus from various positions to fill holes at other spots.
But what if Detroit can get a better player for either hitter? Seattle closer J.J. Putz is frequently linked with the Tigers in trade rumors, and the Mariners have a need at first base (and perhaps left field). Would this be a better use of resources?
The question going into this week's Winter Meetings is which of the Tigers' needs - shortstop, catcher, closer - can best be met through free agency, and which of them are better suited to a trade.