Lynn Henning article in todays Detroit News
Planning for the Tigers trade that is all but inevitable: Too many pitchers -- and mull that phrase for a moment -- means a mini-blockbuster of a deal is brewing that will send at least a couple of extraneous arms to a team that can give the Tigers the center fielder or third baseman that manager Alan Trammell ideally needs before Opening Day.
The more Trammell insists he'll go north with only 11 pitchers, the more you understand a whopper of a trade is on the horizon. The deal also might include one of the Tigers' starting pitching prospects and past first-round draft picks (Kyle Sleeth, perhaps).
The Tigers have been loading up on pitching since Dave Dombrowski took control three years ago, and now they're in shape to trade their surplus for position personnel that could make them Central Division winners. Taking on Troy Percival and Kyle Farnsworth locked up the two established power arms that, together with Ugueth Urbina's return, give the Tigers a shot at making a capstone trade later this month.
Urbina is the most obvious trade chit because of his prowess and because the Tigers are suddenly stocked with so many good late-innings relievers. Fernando Rodney is looking strong and Franklyn German will be a horse for somebody. The Tigers can't allow that "somebody" to be a team that picks German from the waiver wire, which would happen if they don't bring north a reliever who is out of minor-league options.
Steve Colyer and Gary Knotts have the same no-options status. You can't donate pitchers with this brand of ability to scavenging teams and not get something in return. It leaves a trade as the Tigers' only constructive solution. In that sense, it wouldn't be a shock if Mike Maroth were part of a deal -- for a stronger starting pitcher -- when the Tigers already have two left-handed starters (Nate Robertson and Wil Ledezma) in the rotation.
Dombrowski's strategy to build a team by stockpiling pitching is about to put the Tigers in the Central Division driver's seat -- if that last trade can be pulled off. They can't do it unless 12-14 pitchers prove during the next few weeks that they belong in the big leagues. But more and more, it looks as if the excess will be there. And that spells b-i-g t-r-a-d-e.
http://www.detnews.com/2005/tigers/0503 ... 108579.htm