The Tigers have now traded two very important pieces to their playoff runs over the last two seasons: first baseman Prince Fielder and starting pitcher Doug Fister, freeing up money for a potential big move in the free agent market which should start heating up now that the Winter Meetings are just a week away. Zack Smith wrote about the fantasy impact of the Fister deal last night.
So where will Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski invest his new found riches? Here are my thoughts on a few potential targets:
Could the Tigers be in on Robinson Cano? They could, but I don't see recently acquired Ian Kinsler moving over to third base anytime soon. He was reluctant to change positions in Texas, leading to his trade to Detroit, freeing up second base for Jurickson Profar in Texas. Plus, Dombrowski may want to budget some future payroll for re-signing Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer.
Could Dombrowski be in on Jacoby Ellsbury? Sure, but he already has a center field in Austin Jackson. Ellsbury is the better hitter of the two, but he will also be more expensive than some other possible targets.
Carlos Beltran would be a good fit in Detroit where he could play left field, with Torii Hunter in right, and he could DH as well. But, the Tigers already have a very good DH in Victor Martinez right now. After a very slow start to the 2013 season, VMart ended the season hitting over .300 for the seventh time in the last eight years. Then again, VMart is a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, so Beltran makes some sense for the Tigers.
I think the Tigers could use their ballooning available cash to sign former Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. It isn't like Choo is unfamiliar with the American League Central, either. He played for the Indians for five seasons before his trade to the Reds last offseason. Choo is a career .286-.353-.488 hitter at Comerica Park, which is very close to his .288-.389-.465 career triple slash line. A move to Detroit would improve Choo's fantasy value as he would become their new leadoff hitter, manning either left or right field. Just think of how many times he will lead the majors in runs scored hitting in front of Miggy. Choo is an on-base machine, something that Austin Jackson is not, so it is a no brainer that he would take over the leadoff spot in the Tigers lineup.
Tanaka is the best pitcher available in the free agent market and all signs point to an agreement between MLB and the NPB real soon, so Tanaka's name will be fancied about quite a bit in the very near future. Could Dombrowski be looking to sign Tanaka this offseason? I doubt it. His rotation is still pretty solid with Drew Smyly replacing Doug Fister as their #4.
Who did I miss? Who do you think the Tigers will target in free agency? There is no doubt in my mind, Dombrowski is up to something, because the Fister deal doesn't make much sense, especially since they are built to win right now.
Let us know your thoughts in the poll and comments section.
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