The free agent second basemen are disappearing fast. In the last few days, Jamey Carroll joined the Twins, Mark Ellis signed with the Dodgers and Aaron Hill decided to stay with the Diamond Backs. Moreover, the Pirates are in pursuit of former Tigers infielder Ramon Santiago. Still in need of a second baseman, the Tigers are looking into trades. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports that they are talking to the Braves about Martin Prado.
The 28-year-old Prado is an excellent contact hitter who batted .309/.358/.461 between 2008-2010. He has pretty good power for a second baseman as evidenced by his 15 homers and 40 doubles in 2010. He fell to .260/.302/.385 in 2011, but that can be explained in part by a staph infection in his calf suffered in June. He batted just .244 with a .622 OPS in the second half.
He can play second base, third base or left field, but the Tigers would probably use him at second. The consensus of the advanced statistics - UZR, DRS and Total Zone - and the Fan Scouting Report suggest that he is around average defensively.
What would they have to give up to get Prado? Morosi suggests they would be willing to give up outfielder Delmon Young in a trade for a second baseman. However, I doubt that would be enough to acquire Prado. Not only is Prado a better all around player, but he also is less expensive and further away from free agency. He is under team control through 2013 while Young is eligible for free agency after this year.
The Braves would likely want prospects and the Tigers don't have a lot to offer beyond their big two - pitcher Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos. Neither is likely going in a trade for prado, but they might be willing part with a pitcher such as Casey Crosby or Drew Smyly in a deal
At any rate, I see the pursuit of Prado as a promising development, much more interesting than the players that have already signed elsewhere.