July 28, 2006


GM's dilemma: Are Tigers good enough to win it all without trade? (Danny Knobler, July 27, 2006, Booth Newspapers)

One veteran major-league scout who has seen all 30 teams play this season said the other day that he'd give three teams an equal shot in October: the Boston Red Sox, the New York Mets and the Tigers.

But other scouts who have watched the Tigers over the last several weeks have come to the same conclusion that many Tiger officials have. If you add Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee to this team, then you'd really have a good chance in the playoffs.

The Tigers don't seem to want to deal for spare parts. They don't want to tweak the roster. If they're going to make a move, they want it to be the big one, the one that puts them over the top.

General manager Dave Dombrowski has to be careful. Dombrowski and his staff (don't forget to credit ex-scouting director Greg Smith) have built this organization to the point where the Tigers could be good for several years to come.

A pitching rotation anchored by Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander (both 23 years old) and a bullpen led by Joel Zumaya (still 21), with more pitching on the way (Humberto Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens, Andrew Miller), should give the Tigers more than just a one-year joyride.

Dombrowski would almost certainly part with Sanchez in a deal for Soriano or Lee (although he'd never admit it until a deal was done). There has to be some concern that the Tigers would again be trading a John Smoltz for a Doyle Alexander (Smoltz was less accomplished in 1987 than Sanchez is now), but the difference is that the Tigers have a young rotation in the big leagues, with multiple pitching prospects lined up behind Sanchez.

The biggest concern really ought to be how heavily they have to lean on Verlander to make it deep into the playoffs. After throwing just 120 innings in his first professional year he's on a pace for over 200 this year and looking at as many as six or seven more starts in the playoffs. It'd be a shame to do to him what Ozzie has done to the Sox starters.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 28, 2006 8:32 AM

Well, they could lean on Kenny Rogers in the post-season and playoffs.

Oh wait...

Posted by: John at July 28, 2006 11:08 AM

true, OJ; Maroth will come back to spot start through September and make it a six man rotation

Rogers is a concern and needs to be moved, along with Jones

Posted by: Palmcroft at July 28, 2006 1:19 PM