Tigers After Hawkins

l-hawkins.jpgAccording to the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Tigers are after right handed reliever Latroy Hawkins and “there were indications” the team has offered him a multi-year contract.

The Tigers, of course, are in need of relief help due to the freak injury to Joel Zumaya who will miss at least the first half of the season.  But Hawkins? Sure, he did post a respectable 3.42 ERA in Colorado last season, but the 34 year old is not what he once was back in the day for Minnesota.  He has lost his ability to miss bats, striking out only 56 batters in the 116 innings he has pitched the last two years.  (Compare that to his best years – 2002 and 2003 with the Twins – when he struck out 138 batters in 157 innings).  Plus, his last stint in the American League was a disaster, as he posted a 4.48 ERA in 2006 for the Orioles.   A multi-year deal for Hawkins has “fleece” written all over it.

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Dotel to Motown?

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According to the Detrot Free Press, Octavio Dotel is high on the Tigers’ wish list of free agent relievers.  Detroit is looking to bolster their pen because of the fragility of fireballer Joel Zumaya. 

As noted in the piece, Dotel has also had a tough go at trying to stay healthy himself, and has not made more than 33 appearances in a season since 2004.  It was believed that Dotel would seek a closer’s role, but given the right amount of money, I’m sure he will be more than happy to head to Detroit and be a setup man.  Given Dotel’s checkered past in the health department, any team that signs him might be getting a nice new fleece as well.  However, if he can manage to keep it together (big if) and stay on the mound for a full season or two, he might be one of the better signings this winter. 

Tigers Not Likely to “Gamble” on Dontrelle Willis

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The Detroit Tigers appear to be close to a final deal with Kenny Rogers, which may eliminate them from any Dontrelle Willis trade possibilities. 

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Rogers, “said in an e-mail Tuesday morning that he expected to speak with the Tigers soon regarding a 2008 contract.”  Detroit is believed to have the best, and maybe the only offer out to “The Gambler.”  The offer is for one year at $8M.   It should also be noted that Rogers recently fired “Mr. Fleece” himself, Scott Boras, as his agent.  Kenny Rogers is negotiating with the Tigers while serving as his own agent.

As mentioned, the inclusion of Rogers into the Tigers staff lessens the need for an impact acquisition such as Willis.   And partly because of progression in the Rogers talks, the Tigers have not spoken to the Marlins since the GM meetings.   That is probably a smart move by Detroit, as the Marlins would probably try to fleece them for top prospects in any Willis deal.   Not to mention the fact that Willis has been trending downward recently.  His ERA has risen from 2.63 in 2005 to 3.87 in 2006 and 5.17 last year.   Signing Kenny Rogers to a cheap one-year deal carries significantly less risk than trading prospects for Willis.

Tuesday Morning Trade/FA Rumors

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  • With the Yorvit Torrealba disaster now official, the Mets may be leaning towards the trade route to fill the catching void.   Newsday has the Mets pursuing Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez as well as Texas backstop Gerald Laird.   Boston is also in on Laird, though, and may be prepared to deal Coco Crisp for him in what you would have to consider a minor fleece for Texas.
  • Mike Lowell apparently received a 4 year, $50M offer from the Phillies, despite Philly’s constant denials.   If true, Philly fans should be sending thank you notes to Lowell for not fleecing them by accepting that offer, which would have left them with limited funds for their horrid pitching staff, as well as a 37 year old, gray 3rd baseman in 4 years.
  • If Kaz Matsui does indeed manage to fleece the Houston Astros into a multi-year deal (Why would Houston sign this guy?), the Rockies may end up looking to the Astros for his replacement.  Chris Burke is on their minds.  To me, Chris Burke is a better player than Matsui, especially factoring in the Coors Field angle.   I don’t know what the Astros are thinking by getting fleeced by Matsui.  Can someone please help me out on this?
  • Kenny Rogers should be back roasting chickens for the Tigers after firing the fleece master, Scott Boras.
  • Two great defensive middle infielders with horrible sticks are drawing trade interest:  Cesar Izturis from the Orioles (dependent on a Tejada trade) and Juan Uribe from the Rays. In retrospect, as pointed out by MLBTradeRumors.com Kenny Williams should have passed on Uribe. At the time, though, I am sure he did not know he was going to be able to trade for Orlando Cabrera. He will now attempt to move the SS and his $4 million+ in order to free up some salary for Torii Hunter, and Tampa Bay could be among the interested parties.

Lone Star Gagne?

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 The two most likely suitors for Eric Gagne continue to be Houston or Texas (Detroit might be a darkhorse).  This sets up a potentially interesting fleece situation. Gagne would likely sign for a decent closer’s salary, which is in the 8 million range, which would be near a fair deal.

The fleece could take place come July 31 again if Gagne is pitching well. In 2007, Gagne was sent to Boston for 3 young players including Kason Gabbard (6-1, 4.65 ERA). Could Texas sign Gagne to a 1 year deal and then trade him again for some more youngsters to build around?

Nick Cafardo’s Sunday Rumors: Cabrera, Gagne, Crisp, Clement, Colon

gagne.jpgcrisp.jpgcolon.jpgOne of my favorite Sunday morning reads is Nick Cafardo’s Boston Globe piece.  Here are the highlights from today:

  • Cafardo sees Miguel Cabrera as a perfect fit for Boston, likening him to Manny Ramirez.  Cafardo believes, however, that the Red Sox will try to avoid the fleece from Florida, who allegedly is interested in both Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury.  He sees the Dodgers as the best match for Florida with it’s stable of top prospects (James Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Clayton Kershaw, and Andy LaRoche), but quotes Dodgers special advisor Bill Lajoie as saying, “As far as giving away three or four regular players, I don’t believe you do that.”  Translated: ‘We also won’t get fleeced.’
  • Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell confirms that the club has talked about opening the season with a 6 man rotation, seeming to indicate to me that there are no active plans to trade Clay Buchholz or Jon Lester.
  • Interestingly, Cafardo points out that, “A National League playoff team gave its scouts a whopping $200 bonus for their good work. We will not embarrass them by identifying the team.”  Which team do you think this could be?  They should have just bought the poor scouts nice fleeces instead.
  • As mentioned earlier on this site by my colleague, Mr. Fleece, Boston may be interested in Kerry Wood as a reliever.
  • Eric Gagne wants to fleece someone into giving him a closer job.  Cafardo mentions Texas, Houston or possibly Detroit as potential landing spots.
  • Minnesota is “very interested” in Coco Crisp.
  • Possible one year bargains Matt Clement and Bartolo Colon are drawing some interest.   Clement is being sought by the Padres and Royals, while Colon may catch on with the Giants, Cubs, White Sox or Phillies.
  • David Wells is interested in fleecing a team into a one year contract for 2008.  Good luck with that, Boomer.