Thursday, June 21, 2007

So About that Extra Spot in the Rotation...

Everyone knows that Kenny Rogers comes off the DL, and into the starting rotation tomorrow in Atlanta. What is uncertain is the situation of the rest of the pitchers on the roster. The first move is most likely new acquisition Macay McBride to Toledo, as he's not even listed on the team depth chart. Even with that move, the Tigers rotation features six starters, with a seventh (Nate Robertson who was pitching a no-hitter in Erie before he hit his pitch limit) returning soon. Andrew Miller is a starter and should continue to the minors. Miller needs that full year a la Justin Verlander to build up that arm strength that will carry him thorough the 2008 season.
That still leaves 5 spots for 6 pitchers. Chad Durbin I think will win that fifth spot for two reasons: 1) he's pitched well enough to deserve it. 2)I think Mike Maroth would get more in a trade than Durbin. So what to do with Mike Maroth, who has been trade fodder ever since Kenny Rogers' first rehab outing? Well The Tigers certainly picked a great time to have a pitching surplus, as many teams across the majors have pitchers taking trips to the DL, so here's a few teams and scenarios that I've been bouncing around.

Los Angeles Dodgers:
They just lost Jason Schmidt for the season and have a wealth of bullpen talent. So could the Tigers get Jon Broxton or Chad Billingsley for Mike Maroth? Only if David Dombrowski has pictures of Dodger GM Ned Coletti in a very unflattering situation. The best Maroth could drum up is probably Brett Tomko or Rudy Seanez, who are basically are right handed Mike Maroths.

Atlanta Braves:
Having just dealt Wil Ledezma to them, I don't see the Braves in the market for another Tiger lefty. Atlanta will probably set their sights on Chicago's Mark Buerhle for that help in the rotation. But in a perfect world, wouldn't it be nice to see the Braves repay the Tigers for the Smoltz-Alexander trade with a Maroth for prized catching prospect Jarrod Saltamacchia deal?

Florida Marlins:
Could Dombroski strike a deal with his former employer to send Maroth to the Fish to give Dontrelle Willis some veteran back-up to fuel a playoff push? Marlin pitchers have been on and off the DL all year, having Maroth around to eat up some inning in a spacious ballpark could be intriguing for the Marlins. Florida is 7 games back of the NL Wild Card mostly due to the hot start of the teams out west. But they sit only 4.5 games back of first in the NL East. If they stay close, they could be buyers at the trade deadline. Unfortunately Maroth might be lost in the shuffle by then. If Florida showed some interest the guy I'd go after is Henry Owens. He was the Marlins closer earlier this year, but lost his job to injury to Kevin Gregg. If he is healthy he could be a good 7th-8th inning set-up man.

Toronto Blue Jays:
The Jays have 3 starters on the DL, and relievers such as Casey Janssen, Scott Downs, or Jeremy Accardo could be had for the right price. Had B.J. Ryan not been hurt for the year the a deal might be made. We can always hope that Manager John Gibbons gets mad and challenges one of them to a fight, then they could be had cheap.

St Louis Cardinals:
The pitching staff is in bad shape. How bad? Kip Wells with his 11 losses and 6.75 ERA is listed as the #1 starter. Compared to Kip Wells, Mike Maroth would seem like Johan Santana. With the pitching staff is such a horrid state, I wouldn't really want a pitcher in return. Who then? Well how about Chris Duncan. the power hitting lefty had been converted to an outfielder and has made a few mistakes in the outfield. His natural position? Why it's first base. I know Sean Casey's started to turn things around, but if the Tigers could get a guy who's splitting time with Juan Encarnacion and Ryan Ludwick, and has hit 13 home runs in 58 games this year and a career .349 OBP. This deal probably won't happen due to Jim Edmonds injury, but hey to make it happen I'd even thrown in Marcus Thames.

So that's what I have. Who knows where or even if Maroth will go anywhere. He's a good guy and having suffered through the rough times, It'd be nice to see him on the field if the Tigers make it back to the World Series this year. But if trading him means the Tigers are better equipped to win it all, then see you later Mike.

On Deck:
Out and about again this weekend. I'm hoping I'll be able to watch Kenny's return tomorrow. More than likely I'll have to weekend recap sometime after Sunday night's game or Monday.

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