There is no question now that the San Francisco Giants will be sellers heading into Wednesday’s trade deadline. There is also no question that the Giants have a lot of pieces who make absolute sense for the Detroit Tigers to try to acquire over the next few days. Talk has swirled around Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez, two very good relief arms, who would absolutely improve the Tigers’ bullpen, but it may just be two less-talked-about names who could make the biggest difference on this Tigers’ squad.
There have been rumors surrounding the Tigers and Tim Lincecum for a few weeks now, and as time passes, it seems to make more and more sense. The Tigers’ backend of the bullpen has actually done incredibly well with the pillars of Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit solidifying the eighth and ninth innings. It has become less and less a priority to trade for a closer and more of a priority to focus on the deteriorating infield and long relief.
With Smyly becoming a setup man, it leaves a gaping hole for an effective long reliever, especially when the playoffs roll around. No one was as good at that spot than Lincecum in the last postseason, being a huge part of the Giants’ World Series title, which was his second earned. If the Tigers had a guy who could come in and give long relief the way Lincecum did last season, it would help bridge the gap to the backend of a bullpen that shapes up actually pretty well in the American League.
The other piece of this trade would be a very nice sneaky grab in Brandon Crawford. Crawford plays very solid defense and has shown both pop and versatility with the bat. Crawford could be the long-term shortstop the Tigers are going to need when Jhonny Peralta leaves, either by suspension or free agency. The best part about Crawford is he would not cost too much extra in a trade with Lincecum and would save the Tigers prospects in not having to trade multiple times.
The Tigers and Giants will be on the phone with each other quite often over the next few days, and talks will be over a wide range of players. I believe the two players that could fill the biggest holes right now are Lincecum and Crawford, and they make the most sense from a price and positional need standpoint. While Lincecum will only be a one-year rental, the Tigers have placed a lot of hope in this season, so it’s insurance on a massive bet. It’s all or nothing this season for the Tigers, and this trade will show the all or nothing style of Mike Illitch.