DETROIT -- With the Thanksgiving season well in the past, it's time to take care of the leftovers in the Tigers Inbox before the Winter Meetings render them old and smelly.In this edition, we'll look at questions about the rebuild, which players might be on the move and make a
DETROIT -- With the Thanksgiving season well in the past, it's time to take care of the leftovers in the Tigers Inbox before the Winter Meetings render them old and smelly.
In this edition, we'll look at questions about the rebuild, which players might be on the move and make a cross-sport comparison.
Trading Michael Fulmer has always been the wild-card scenario in the Tigers' rebuild. At age 24 and with five more seasons before he's eligible for free agency, Fulmer is one of the few accomplished Tigers who could see the club in contention again before hitting the open market. Yet for those same reasons, he's the one Tiger who could draw the kind of prospect package that could jumpstart the rebuilding process the way the Chris Sale trade did for the White Sox last offseason.
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General manager Al Avila has never completely ruled out a Fulmer trade. If he could get two Fulmers for one, as he put it, he would have to consider it. That would seem unlikely, with Fulmer coming off surgery to move the ulnar nerve around his right elbow and alleviate the numbness that had become an increasing hindrance. So while it's possible, it's not probable by any means.
Other than Ian Kinsler, the Tigers don't have many veterans left. The ones they have are unlikely to be traded, either for injuries (Jordan Zimmermann, Victor Martinez) or contract (Jose Cabrera). Still, it's worth keeping an eye on Jose Iglesias and Shane Greene. Iglesias didn't draw much interest at last year's Winter Meetings or this summer's Trade Deadline, but he's a year away from free agency and can provide short-term defensive stability for a team at shortstop. Greene attracted surprisingly little trade interest over the summer, but he has shown a fit in the closer and setup roles in a small sample size, and he has three years of team control left before free agency.
The Tigers currently have just three outfielders with Major League experience on their 40-man roster, so they have to do something. A short-term deal with an outfielder on the rebound is about the best thing they can do at this point. A deal with a veteran outfielder who bats left-handed, like Gonzalez or Curtis Granderson, would be ideal, kind of like what they tried with Johnny Damon in 2010.
I think if Christin Stewart gets to the Majors before September, it would require a surprise scenario, either injuries forcing the Tigers' hand or Stewart slugging his way to forcing the Tigers to give him a chance. Short of that, Tigers player development want him getting more seasoning, having not seen a pitch above the Double-A level yet.
Good question. I see a little bit of Liverpool in the Tigers, a team with past glory trying to recapture it, trying to play with the bigger-market titans of the league. Ron Gardenhire doesn't have that Jurgen Klopp look, though. Also, you don't really see full rebuilding efforts in the EPL due to the risk of relegation. Maybe Newcastle or Everton would be more timely comparisons in that respect.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.