Thursday, November 29, 2007

Winter Meetings Preview

The annual winter meetings take place in Nashville next week from December 3-6. There has not been a lot of trade activity in recent years but with the weak free agent market this year, we can probably expect more this year. However, the Tigers seem to be more likely to go the free agent route to reach their goals which are to acquire a starter and reliever.

The starter will most likely be Kenny Rogers who has said that he wants to remain a Tiger and has dropped his agent Scott Boras. If for some reason that does not go as planned, Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse and Japanese free agent Hiroki Kuroda have been mentioned as backup targets. Having already traded away Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez to acquire shorstop Edgar Renteria, it's unlikely that they will be able to trade for a starter. It's looking to me like that Rogers will the one and there has been no indication that they would be interested in signing two starters.

The reliever rumors seem to change daily. The most recent names have been Latroy Hawkins, Octavio Dotel and Matt Herges. Dotel, who has a has a lifetime 10.9 k/9ip ratio but has been limited by injuries to under 60 innings over the last three years combined, seems expensive:

The Tigers had been intrigued by the versatile Dotel – they pursued him at the trade deadline this year – but he asked for a two-year contract in the neighborhood of $10-12 million. The club did not seem eager to meet that price for Dotel, who missed six weeks this year with a right shoulder strain.

Herges, who had a 2.96 ERA in 48 2/3 innings last year, appears to be read to re-sign with the Rockies according to The Rocky Mountain News

That leaves Hawkins as a strong candidate, at least for today. Hawkins had a 3.42 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 2.8 BB/G in 55 1/3 innings pitched last year but is 34 years old with a rapidly decreasing strike out ratio (5.0 k/9ip in 2007). Stay tuned.

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