With the 2010 MLB Winter Meetings already heating up before they even officially open, the Detroit Tigers need to take care of one need for certain, but three needs to feel comfortable about the team's chances in 2011. They say they'd like a left-handed reliever. Most people agree they need a corner outfielder, probably a right fielder but for the right player a little creativity is possible. Finally, some of us out there think they need to improve that rotation to have a real shot at the Central Division in 2011.So I'm going to preview the Tigers' needs position by position tonight.
By now you've heard that Jayson Werth is no longer an option for Detroit. (GM Dave Dombrowski says his club was not even involved, although other reports say Detroit was involved until the end.) At seven years and $126 million, the deal the Washington Nationals made with Werth was absolutely shocking. (Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal got a great quote from a rival GM.) There's no way Detroit should meet those terms, so I'm glad the Tigers didn't try.
So what's that mean for Detroit? It means the only way avoid falling off from last year's production via the free-agent market is to sign Magglio Ordonez, who thanks to the Nationals and a player's market is going to receive a rather favorable deal. Originally I pegged him at two years, $16 million. Then two years, $18 million. At this point, I don't think he'll sign for a penny less than two years, $20 million and I wouldn't doubt agent Scott Boras will be angling for a third year on the contract.
I know you want to talk about Carl Crawford, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. I don't think Detroit was ever really in the running. Maybe they'll surprise me on that. Given Werth's contract he'll probably make $144-160 million over eight years or at least $140 over seven years. (I suppose it's possible the rest of the general managers could dig in their heels ... but let's face it, someone will get greedy.)
That means the TIgers would have to make a trade. Maybe Josh Willingham suddenly becomes available in Washington now that they have Werth. Maybe the Tigers try to pick up Kosuke Fukudome at a discount rate thanks to his $13.5 million contract. Reports say he's being shopped. The nice thing about that contract is that it expires after 2011, and he had a .371 on-base percentage with a .439 slugging average. Even better if the Cubs cover some salary. The Mariners say they aren't interested in moving Milton Bradley.
I think a move will be made by Detroit. Maybe not at the Winter Meetings, but eventually. I can't see them happy about their right field options given the investment they've made in the team this offseason.