Jon Paul Morosi wrote in yesterday's Freep that the Tigers would be "hesitant to deal" Guillermo Moscoso for Gerald Laird, as some in the organization believe that he could pitch in the majors by the end of next season. This year, pitching in Single- and Double-A, Moscoso posted 122 strikeouts in 86.2 innings, along with a 2.70 ERA.
However, that sort of major league readiness is exactly what Texas is looking for in exchange for one of their catchers.
In his article, Morosi also listed the next tier of starting pitching prospects that might still intrigue the Rangers:
The Tigers have no plans to trade top prospects Rick Porcello or Casey Crosby, but there are intriguing names in the next group of starters: right-handers Brandon Hamilton and Luis Marte, and left-handers Jonathan Kibler and Mauricio Robles.
The Tiger system isn't real strong, but they (along with the Reds) appear to be the most aggressive suitors for Laird, and I guess the Rangers could be interested in some high-upside guys Detroit has. Wilkin Ramirez, for example, is a power hitting COF prospect, and the Rangers have a dearth of guys like that in the system.
I recommend reading the entire comment thread, if you click over. The LSB community really knows their stuff, and has been looking over many players in Detroit's system. Maybe you could add something to the discussion.
Playing mostly in Double-A Erie last season, Ramirez hit .286/.354/.490 with 19 home runs, 73 RBIs, and 27 stolen bases.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney thinks the Rangers have the market on their side in dealing Laird, but wonders if he's really worth what Texas might be asking for:
It tells you a lot about the state of the catching market that the Rangers keep asking for a big return on the likes of Laird, who is good defensively. But consider the back of the baseball card of Laird, now 29 years old:
- He has a career on-base percentage of .306, with a single-season high of .332 (among seasons in which he played more than 19 games).
- He has played more than 95 games in his career once.
- His career high for home runs is nine.
- He is barreling toward free agency.
Of the players being mentioned in a potential deal, the Reds' Homer Bailey would seem to better than anyone the Tigers are offering. But why might Cincinnati be willing to trade him and why might Texas be hesitant to take him? Well, according to the Dallas Morning News, the young man is apparently carrying a bit of a 'tude:
[...] something else that is often said about Bailey: he's a know-it-all who resists coaching, won't work with his catchers and refuses to make adjustments. After four years in pro ball, Bailey still hasn't developed his changeup, learned to keep his heavy fastball down or learned the importance of getting ahead in the count. He's got a potentially plus curve, but he still doesn't throw it for strikes and by the time he got to Triple-A, hitters knew enough to lay off of it since it was highly unlikely to pass through the strike zone.