The Detroit Tigers were supposed to tear up the world last season with all of the huge bats in their lineup, solid starting pitching, and flame throwers in the bullpen. Didn't quite work out that way. Their offense was pretty good as they were fourth in the AL in runs, and second in home runs. The hardest throwers in their pen were hurt, so that leaves the starting staff. And yes, they were just plain horrible with a 5.03 ERA (good for 11th in the AL). The solution for Jim Leyland's Tigers just might be in Boston:
"(Agent Scott) Boras, according to a rival executive, is trying to sell catcher Jason Varitek to the Tigers as a replacement for another of his clients, Ivan Rodriguez. The idea is not without merit; the Tigers' lineup is strong enough to carry Varitek's declining offense, and his defense and leadership would greatly benefit their pitching staff."
As with all rumors, proceed with caution. With Scott Boras involved, you have to consider the possibility of the Tigers being a red herring to drive up the price (and the appreciation) of Varitek in Boston. But for those willing to delve a little further, join me for some half baked discussion after the jump.
This move would fascinate me for the pure reason that it would tell us a lot about Varitek's true value as a ballplayer. Not that he hasn't told us a lot already, but with Tek putting out less and less offensively, it would be interesting to see what he can do for a struggling pitching staff, and what he can do in a lockerroom where the sum is obviously less than its parts. We talk a whole lot about "intangibles" and how much they really have an effect on a room. Varitek is good for a room, there's no doubt about it. But there's an abundance of talent in that Red Sox room too, so Varitek could possibly be more of a help elsewhere at this point than he would in Boston.
Is Detroit that place? With two guys who underachieved last season in Justin Verlander and Dontrelle Willis, one would think that a catcher like Varitek could help them more than a primarily offensive minded player like Pudge Rodriguez. The flip side is that there will be lot of veterans in that Detroit clubhouse, and you never know how Varitek would mesh in a new clubhouse full of strong personalities. So we would find out for sure if intangibles trump talent if this were to happen.
But again, what you just read could be speculation over nothing. But it's an interesting concept ... and that's what the hot stove is all about, right?