The Tigers remain interested in offense, not necessarily a big name, and have room to slot a bat into some different spots. Thursday’s decision to purchase the contract of Jeff Frazier from Triple-A Toledo suggests that no deal is close.
The call on Frazier had a lot to do with the short term: The Tigers face Red Sox lefty Jon Lester and are on track to face lefties Mark Buehrle and John Danks when the White Sox come to Detroit next week. With Jhonny Peralta now on board to play third base on an everyday basis until Brandon Inge returns, there was very little playing time for Larish, the left-handed hitting slugger who mainly plays the corner infield spots.
It’s a odd situation indeed for the Tigers to be lefty-heavy. They’ve been looking for left-handed hitters off and on since at least 2006, and more recently were reported to have called the Rockies about outfielder Brad Hawpe, according to the Denver Post. The Hawpe report is curious, considering his miserable struggles away from Coors Field (.198 road average, .560 OPS in 2010) and his contract situation. His deal runs out at season’s end, though there’s a $10 million club option for 2011.
Dave Dombrowski is on the record saying he will not give up top prospects like Jacob Turner or Andy Oliver to rent a player for two months. If the Rockies are looking for Major League ready prospects for Hawpe, they aren’t likely to get that from Detroit.
Dombrowski also recently revealed some disagreement with other general managers who are citing the draft compensation they’ll get if they hold onto big-name players with expiring contracts and let them leave via free agency.
“Sometimes you can overplay your hand in that, because you don’t always get it,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “That doesn’t always happen.”
He wasn’t referring specifically to any team or player, but a look at the power hitter market nationally would be a sign.
Detroit could still end up adding bullpen help, their top priority not long ago, but the Tigers are happier with their relief corps now than they were coming out of the All-Star break.
One sense becoming apparent is that the Tigers don’t quite seem to fit into the traditional labels that usually falls on teams this time of year. They’re not all-in buying, not if it means giving up top prospects for a one-year run, but they’re not selling either. While the Dodgers apparently approached the Tigers about utilityman Ryan Raburn, as ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported, they were rebuffed. Raburn has been playing left field this week in the Tigers’ new-look alignment with right fielder Magglio Ordonez out until likely September. And of course, he’s a right-handed hitter.
– Jason Beck