Tim has already broken down the Tigers situation, noting that they already have $115 million tied up in players for 2009, not counting arbitration raises. With speculation that the team could reduce their payroll by $40MM from the team's $137.7MM Opening Day 2008 figure, that could mean some big changes. This is no good for a team that finished in the cellar.
Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at the Tigers situation and makes five predictions for what could happen. Let's take a look at what he's come up with:
- First, he doesn't think J.J. Hardy will be manning the six-hole for the Tigers. His name has been bandied about, since Milwaukee has Alcides Escobar in the pipeline. The Brewers would likely require starting pitching in return, which the Tigers don't have. Morosi finds fault in each of the free agent shortstop options as well.
- Morosi thinks that Jim Leyland wants an experienced catcher for 2009, rather than going with internal option Dusty Ryan from the get-go. He mentions Arizona's Miguel Montero, and then, of course, moves to Texas and their surplus. Gerald Laird could be a good fit, though it's not known what the Rangers would want in return.
- The Tigers could also look to the Rangers for a shortstop. They have Elvis Andrus and Joaquin Arias in the pipeline, as well as Michael Young, whose five-year, $80MM extension just begins kicking in for 2009. To get a catcher and a shortstop from Texas, I would imagine, wouldn't happen without the inclusion of Rick Porcello.
- Following in the White Sox footsteps, the Tigers could pick up some free agent parts to fill out their bullpen. Wil Ohman will be a free agent, as will Brandon Lyon. The Yankees could decline Damaso Marte's option as well. Since the Tigers finished in the bottom 15, they wouldn't lose a first rounder for signing the probable Type-A.
- Finally, Morosi thinks that the Tigers will shop Magglio Ordonez, but not find the right price. It would, however, server the purpose of reducing payroll and plugging other holes. Leyland says the team would have to be blown away by an offer, though.
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