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Is this the Tigers' 2011 free agency "wish list"?

With the 2010 Tigers playing out the string, the local media is beginning to stir to the hot stove pot.

Sunday, Detroit News columnist Lynn Henning put together the Tigers' 2011 free agent "wish list". The players Henning believes "presumed to be of interest to the Tigers" are, in (I'm guessing) order of preference ..

  • 1B/OF Adam Dunn
  • C John Buck
  • C/1B/DH Victor Martinez
  • OF Jayson Werth
  • SP Ted Lilly

Every one of these players have their pluses and minuses, but they are realistic targets for a team in the Tigers' situation...unlike Rays OF Carl Crawford, who will be the apple of the big market teams eye. Not that the Tigers shouldn't try , as Crawford would be a GREAT fit.

Unfortunately, his contract will be at a Yankees-Red Sox level of insanity in both cost and length. But Crawford might be worth a crazy money deal, and we know Mike Ilitch isn't afraid to break out the checkbook for the right player. Regardless, signing Crawford is a long shot. Not an outrageous one, but a long shot all the same.

Dunn is a player many fans have been hoping the Tigers would pursue (including myself) since his days as a Red.

First and foremost, Dunn is a left handed bat with pop, long a need for the Tigers. His massive power and high OBP would make him the perfect player to bat behind Miguel Cabrera. But there's a caveat. Dunn should only be used as a DH, as he makes Ryan Raburn look like a multiple gold glove winner on defense....which is why Dunn may opt to stay in the NL, as he is long on record as not wanting to pigeon hole himself as a DH.

If he's willing to DH, Dunn would be number one, with a bullet, on my list of players the Tigers should target.

Buck may be the number one catcher hitting the market. But keep in mind he's in midst of a career season, having set career highs in average, RBI, SLG and OPS. Buck's career OPB is an ugly .299, and even in his contract season, it isn't much better at .304. Buck is going to be on the bad side of 30 next season, and we all know catchers rarely age well. Buck would be fine if the Tigers didn't have to overbid in cash and contract length for his services...which is a big concern, as even finding a league average catcher offensively is damn hard to do. Buck is going to get paid.

In many ways, Buck reminds me of better Gerald Laird. Laird was fairly solid offensively in his walk year with the Rangers...and we know how awful his bat has been since coming to Detroit.

Martinez is another catcher on the bad side of 30 (older than Buck) who would be much better served playing as a 1B or DH...which isn't going to happen on the Tigers. You could get away with Martinez playing part time behind the plate...but where would you play him the rest of the time to take advantage of his bat? Something to keep in mind, as Martinez is not going to come cheap.

Werth is intriguing, even if he's a bit of a head case. He's a good fit on the Tigers, as Werth is a proven corner outfielder, a position currently in flux on the Tigers with Magglio Ordonez being a free agent and Brennan Boesch hitting well under the Mendoza line after the All-Star break. His bat isn't as powerful as Dunn's, but Werth can play defense, unlike Dunn. Werth capable of playing all three outfield positions ...and the Tigers do need an outfielder.

Werth would be solid get for the Tigers. But he's also going to get a contract offer for more than he is likely worth. That's the cost that comes with plugging roster holes via free agency.

Lilly was rumored to be eyed by the Tigers at the trade deadline, before position players started dropping like so many flies. With the likelihood Jeremy Bonderman will not be coming back, the Tigers definitely have a need for a veteran arm at the bottom of the rotation. Lilly is a consistent innings eater who can be counted on for double digit wins, and just an importantly, has had some success in the AL, though his best statistical seasons have been in the JV...uh, rather, NL, With a top three of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, Lilly would be a very nice fit...and even better, he's left handed.

Again, the question comes down to the size and length of the contract it's going to take to sign the 34 year old Lilly. I'm very leery of giving pitchers long-term deals, and I would hope Dave Dombrowski has learned his lesson when it comes to giving bottom of the rotation guys big contracts. You have to wonder if a two year deal would be enough to get Lilly to sign. At two years, Lilly would be a good get. Longer than that...the deal becomes risky.

I'd like to hear the BYB readership's take on Henning's wish list. Does his list make sense? Too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? Someone not on the list you think should be?

Go at it in the comments!