Despite the recent struggles of the Detroit Tigers, they are still holding onto a 3.5 game lead in the American League Central. Detroit snapped a five-game losing streak Friday night by defeating the reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park.
The Tigers rallied behind back-to-back home runs by Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter in the fifth inning to take a three run lead. The red-hot Victor Martinez later added a two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth. Detroit would end up winning the game by a final score of 6-2.
After looking like the best team in baseball about two weeks ago, the Tigers have really slowed down, dropping 10 of their last 15 games. One of the main reasons for Detroit's decline could rest on the arm of their ace Justin Verlander, who over his last four starts, has not been effective.
Verlander is 1-3 over his last four outings, giving up 19 runs in 26 inning and only striking out 14 batters over that stretch. He currently holds a 6-5 record overall, with a 4.19 ERA. Verlander will look to turn things around Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field when the Tigers travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox.
With the recent struggles, does this make it more obvious for the motor city to be huge buyers before the trade deadline at the end of July? After being so close for the last several seasons to a World Series title, but failing to win it all each time, is this the year for the Tigers to go all-in?
It is extremely unlikely that the reigning Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer will return next season, Detroit seemingly needs to do what ever they need to in order to bring a World Series home this season. The Tigers appear to have too many flaws throughout their lineup. Andrew Romine is not getting the job done at shortstop, and Eugenio Suarez was recently called up, but it is unknown what impact he can really make, if any. They also have three players in their lineup hitting below .250.
The starting rotation could remain strong enough for the Tigers to make a postseason run again, but there just seems to be too many holes in the lineup, meaning Detroit should be exploring to make a huge splash sometime before the deadline.
Rather than settling for what they have now, the Tigers may take a look at a few different possibilities and look to trade some of their top prospects such as Suarez, Nick Castellanos and Bruce Rondon notably, not to mention a few other young players they have in the Minor Leagues.
Detroit should possibly look to two teams that have struggled early in 2014, and may look to be sellers at the break. These teams being the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Tigers could look to acquire a few veteran players from Philadelphia and fill some needs by possibly trading their young talent for both Jimmy Rollins and Jonathan Papelbon. This would solidify the shortstop position as Rollins is off to a solid start this season, as is Papelbon, but receives little changes to close out games because of the Phillies struggles. Papelbon could also help a Detroit bullpen that has been in dire need of help the past few seasons, especially with current closer Joe Nathan having his fair share of struggles thus far.
This trade would make sense, as both players would be an immediate bonus, as Rollins being the every-day shortstop and Papelbon adding a solid arm to an already weak bullpen. Trading away Castellanos would leave a hole at third base, but plugging Don Kelly into that role may be more beneficial than people think, especially with what their getting in return, because at this point anything seems better than the play they are getting out of Romine.
The other possibility to make a huge splash would be to trade with Tampa Bay instead of Philadelphia. Trading away the same prospects for Rays superstar third baseman Evan Longoria and their current closer Grant Balfour. This one, probably more unlikely to happen, but would also be an upgrade at the hot corner with Longoria, and more bullpen help with Balfour, even though he has been inconsistent thus far, but still would benefit the bullpen.
Both trades could be possible, as almost anything is, but both could make a huge impact on the 2014 Detroit Tigers, especially with what they could be losing this offseason. Detroit is in win-now mode, and should go all-in before the deadline to improve their chances of winning the first World Series since 1984.
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