The Tigers 2009 season is going to be reliant on some bounce back candidates to do just that.
According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers will need to guess which of Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, and Nate Robertson will bounce back. And aside from Verlander, they will more than likely want to deal one of them to scale back an already unsustainable projected team salary of $130MM.
Some speculation by Morosi: The Tigers need a shortstop and could swap Dontrelle Willis for Boston’s Julio Lugo. Both guys are signed through 2010, Willis making $22MM and Lugo making $18MM. The Red Sox have shown a willingness to take on reclamation projects in pitchers like Wade Miller and Bartolo Colon, so why not Dontrelle when they have a more favorable (and fan-friendly) option at shortstop in Jed Lowrie? The Tigers could also use the spare $4MM and the Red Sox could afford the risk. Morosi quotes Jim Duquette:
"That can be an effective way to swap players who’ve had below-average years," Duquette said, when asked about that approach. "Lugo would not be a bad player in that situation, as long as you’re not taking on any more money. It would be a break-even proposition. "You take the position player and hope that Lugo has more of a bounce-back year."