NOTE FROM AL: Please welcome Kevin Aumiller, formerly known as "TulaneCubs" here at BCB, as a front-page writer. I know you all liked his FanPost from Thursday about the possible trade connections the Cubs could have with the Royals, and so did I. Kevin's very interested in trade possibilities, rumors, etc. and so I decided to add him to the staff to write about these sorts of things for the site. Hope you enjoy, and welcome to Kevin.
One of the best teams in baseball with not a lot of holes. It’d be shocking if this team doesn’t make the playoffs. Their owner seems desperate for a World Series, so I expect him to direct his GM to do everything he can to get the Tigers to the World Series and win it.
Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)
This team is good. Like, really good. Not a lot of holes.
Starting pitching - Low: Verlander, Fister, Scherzer and Sanchez. Yeah, so they’re good there. I know a lot of people aren't crazy about Porcello, but he’s been an OK fifth starter and his FIP suggests he could improve. I doubt they touch anything here.
Catcher - Low: The offensive decline for Alex Avila has been pretty quick. He’s dropped .150 in OPS per year for the last two years to put him at .560 this year. He’s only 26, though, so my guess is they try and let him work his way out of it.
Shortstop - Low: This one comes down to Jhonny Peralta and whether he’ll be suspended for his involvement with Bio-Genesis. I don’t really see an obvious solution on their current squad if Peralta gets a 50 or more game suspension.
Designated Hitter - Medium: Victor Martinez has been awful this year, with an OPS in Darwin Barney territory. Can he rebound in the second half? If the Tigers don’t think so, this could be a position they address.
Left Field - Medium: It looks like the Tigers have primarily been going with Andy Dirks this year. And while it looks like he’s pretty good defensively, he’s OPSing less than .650 at a corner OF spot. Matt Tuiasosopo has played some LF for them and has hit pretty well, but played some bad defense. He also does a fantastic impression of a woman’s voice.
Closer - High: You’ve probably heard, but the Tigers are looking for a closer. If they buy anywhere, it’s going to be at closer. The rest of their pen has been pretty solid, though.
Fits on the Cub Roster
Nate Schierholtz, Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus all seem like they could be good fits for the Tigers LF/DH problem and provide some versatility there. There’s been rumors that they’d be interested in Kevin Gregg as a potential solution to closer and that they might take Carlos Marmol as well. I doubt they’re looking for starting pitching or a catcher, but Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Dioneer Navarro could be in the mix if they do.
What’s in it for the Cubs?
Ranked the 27th and 29th best farm system before the season by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, respectively, there's just not much in this system to get excited about. Nick Castellanos is the unanimous No. 1 at the top of the Tigers system and a Top-25 or so prospect in all of baseball. He’s hitting fairly well at Triple-A as a 21 year old. He came up a 3B but it sounds like he’ll end up in LF. Avisail Garcia is a top 100 guy for some people and he can play CF, which we know the Cubs front office loves. What this FO doesn’t love are guys who don’t get on base and Garcia doesn’t do a very good of getting on base (.320 OBP in the minors). He’s pretty young (22) and has been back and forth between Triple-A and the majors this year. Bruce Rondon might sound familiar because the Tigers tried him at closer a bit to start the year. He’s strictly a reliever, but he is lighting it up in Triple-A. I don’t know who any of these other guys are, so reference the two links above for other information. Looks like the Tigers are pretty thin on starting pitching prospects, though.