Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press has the trade chatter surrounding the Tigers.
The first issue is the bullpen, which is having all sorts of problems. Joel Zumaya is out for three months after finger surgery, Fernando Rodney has been on the DL with biceps tendinitis, Jose Mesa predictably bombed, and Todd Jones has struggled recently. Logically, the Tigers are scouring the trade market for relief pitching. They still might sign Troy Percival. The main competition there seems to be the Phillies. Morosi also indicates that a trade could be worked out with the Rangers for Eric Gagne or Akinori Otsuka. Peter Gammons confirms Gagne's availability, and also mentions Al Reyes as a trade candidate.
Last December, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski showed interest in Renyel Pinto of the Marlins and C.J. Wilson and Ron Mahay of the Rangers. That was back when the need was though to be a lefty specialist rather than just relievers in general.
One expendable player for the Tigers might be 29 year-old southpaw Mike Maroth. The Tigers were offering him up in December but couldn't find a deal. Maroth had surgery a year ago to remove bone chips from his elbow, and was never right in '06. While he's made all his starts this year, Maroth isn't pitching like he did from 2003-05. This year, his K rate is down even further, his control is off, and he's allowed an unacceptable number of home runs (15 in 61 innings). Morosi confirms Maroth's availability via an NL exec. The return of Kenny Rogers later this month may push him out of the rotation.
Maroth makes $2.95MM this year and then will be eligible for arbitration afterwards. He'll become a free agent after the 2008 season. He alone probably won't bring a useful reliever, but could be part of a larger deal.
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