Why the Tigers Lack the Roar
According to Fox Sports John Paul Morosi, the Tigers and Braves are working on a deal that would send Martin Prado to Detroit. The Tigers would be sending Delmon Young back in the deal, possibly more. Why are they doing this? To get a leadoff hitter. Martin Prado is apparently their goal for that. It’s funny and sad. Dave Dombrowski could become Dumbrowski.
Prado has a career .341 OBP, with a career low .302 OBP in 2011. He is arbitration eligible and he made $3.1 million in 2011. He is 28-years-old.
Austin Jackson is or was the Tigers leadoff hitter of the future when he was acquired from the Yankees in the three-way deal with the Diamondbacks (Ian Kennedy, Curtis Granderson, and Max Scherzer were also in that deal, which was a win for everyone). Jackson turns 25 in February, isn’t arbitration eligible until 2013, and won’t be a Free Agent until 2016. His OBP last season was an abysmal .317, still better than Prado’s, and his career .331 OBP isn’t far off considering he hasn’t had a breakout season and his speed (49 SB in 304 games) far outweighs the “danger” that Prado brings if he gets on leading off (his career 13 SB in 527 games). Jackson brings an element that can’t be replaced, creating runs in a spacious ballpark. He’d still be on the team, as Prado would be in left field or at third.
Which brings us to Delmon Young. Young is 26, he’ll be a Free Agent after the 2012 season, and he’ll make about $7 million in arbitration in 2012 after making $5.38 million last year. Young is taking the position player Edwin Jackson approach, playing for his 3rd team at such a young age. While he probably isn’t worth what he’ll earn in arbitration based on his production so far in his career, he has shown glimpses of stardom and he is entering his prime. While Young has been an enigma, he hasn’t been an enema, especially as a Tiger. The man played in just 40 games for Detroit and if you multiply his production by four (to get to 160 games), he could have posted 112 R, 184 H, 20 2B, 4 3B, 32 HR, 128 RBI and a 120/20 K/BB with a .274 AVG and .756 OPS. While the AVG and OPS are underwhelming, his statistics are pretty sexy. He’d be someone who would fit in nicely by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the lineup if he finally breaks out.
If the Tigers can get Prado and have him play third, that would be a solid deal. They shouldn’t get him to play left if it means giving up Delmon Young. They shouldn’t get him to lead off because he isn’t really a good guy to have clogging up the bases IF he even gets on. This is another addition of a veteran who might do something to help, but probably isn’t the answer. The Tigers had a solid team this past season. They seem to overthink things. They STOLE Young from the Twins for the playoff run and he did a nice job producing for them.
It’s about time they make minor changes instead of reaching for a splash. They need to keep the players that got them to where they were last season. They need to dump guys who are hurt and cost too much like Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. They don’t need to trade guys in their prime for overvalued, underproducing corner players. Do you want a guy hitting 11-15 homers in LF/RF/1B/3B? Especially if he is below average defensively at 3B and LF like Prado is? Wilson Betemit is below average and has posted a .378 and .343 OBP and .889 and .795 OPS the last two years, but no one is giving him a job. Even the Tigers, as he was allowed to walk as a Free Agent. Seems like a bad move.