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Afternoon Prowl: Go for it in 2010, or build for 2011?

Baseball reality has spent the past week slapping we Tigers fans in the face...again and again and again.

Reality being a very ugly 10 game stretch of baseball. The Tigers are 2-8 in their last 10 games, 1-6 in the last 7, coming off a loss to the last place Cleveland Indians. They have fallen to only 1 game above the .500 mark at 26-25, and 4.5 games back of the 1st place Twins in the AL Central.

With the Tigers playing anything like a playoff contender, there's a couple of questions begging to be asked. Should the Tigers start building towards next year? Or should the Tigers attempt to right their ship, even if the cost is quite high, in order to make a run this season in a weak AL Central?

Over the weekend In the local fishwraps, Drew Sharp...

It's worth it. You can't fall in love with hope if it blinds you to one of a minor league prodigy's principle values: trade bait for that one veteran piece that could put the Tigers over the top.

Oswalt could be that piece.

and Bob Wojnowski...

The Tigers have shown they're not afraid to get aggressive, which is good, because it sure appears they'll need some help, and likely will have to make a significant deal to get it.

...both insisted the Tigers should go for it this year, and make a move to pick up pitching.

Obviously, the name of the moment is disgruntled Astro Roy Oswalt. But would Oswalt even want to come to Detroit?

According to Ed Price, senior baseball writer for AOL's Fanhouse, Oswalt has let the Astros know where he'd like to go. He's not disgruntled enough to place the Tigers on his short list..

An official from another team said word going around is that Roy Oswalt would approve a trade only to the Phillies, Yankees or Cardinals.

Well, so much for that. Sharp and Wojo are going to have to move on to Cliff Lee.

But the internet's favroite Tigers writer, Lynn Henning, contradicts his fellow ink-stained wretches, saying the cost for either Oswalt or Lee will be far more than the team is willing to pay.

The asking price will be too heavy, especially for a team that (a) has little chance of winning the American League Central Division race in 2010, even with Oswalt or Lee, and (b) has put itself in nice position to be a playoff contender in the seasons ahead but could squander that chance if it deals away the kind of young talent Houston and Seattle would demand.

Consider the two pitchers, Oswalt and Lee, and you see the perils for a Tigers club that has been trying to cut back on bad contracts and, maybe, on the temptation to deal young talent for quick-win veterans.

I hate to say I agree with Henning, but I agree with Henning. For a team finally ridding themselves of some God awful contracts, taking on deals the size of Oswalt's or Lee's, considering their ages, would be a big risk.

In fact Henning is channeling BYB's own Kurt Mensching, who went off on the aforementioned columnists, saying the Tigers should be concerned with setting themselves up for next season. As Kurt so aptly put any thought about the Tigers offense being "good enough":

Crazy talk!


One bothersome thing in writing this season off so early would mean essentially wasting an MVP type season from Miguel Cabrera. According to Sports Illustrated's weekly MVP rankings, Cabrera is currently 2nd in the AL in the MVP race. (Who's 1st? The Twins Justin Morneau. Figures.)

Cabrera is on pace for 163 RBIs, a total not reached since Manny Ramirez drove in 165 in 1999. Cabrera's batting average and on-base percentage have come down significantly over the past three weeks, but his hot start and recent power surge have kept him on the short list for MVP honors.

Being in the top 3 in all the traditional Triple Crown categories (3rd in AVE, 2nd in HR, 1st in RBI) best keep Cabrera on the short list.

But will Cabrera's heroics be enough to keep the Tigers in contention? Without another bat in the lineup, probably not.