By Spencer Impellizzeri @Spence_I on June 5, 2014
The Detroit Tigers have two main needs, a shortstop and relief pitcher. Both positions have been suspect so far this season and both are in need of an upgrade. The Tigers were in this situation last year and traded for Jose Iglesias, but they are back in square one this season with Iglesias out for the season with a shin injury. The Tigers will likely make a move, and here are five players they should target.
Trying to find a fill-in for Iglesias, the Tigers have turned to prospect Eugenio Suarez. If he doesn't work out, the Tigers will likely look elsewhere for a replacement. A prime candidate would be Cliff Pennington. The Arizona Diamondbacks have an excess at the shortstop position, and Pennington could be a potential trade candidate when he gets off the DL.
Brian Schlitter would give the Tigers a solid presence in the bullpen at a reasonable price. Schlitter has broken into the big leagues this season and has pitched well. He is currently 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA this season, and those numbers would be an upgrade over the Tigers' current pitchers. With call-up Neil Ramirez pitching well and the Cubs out of contention, they could opt to deal for Schlitter and go with a younger look.
Jake Diekman is pitching on a team that is struggling to contend with a number of young pitchers being promoted behind him. Those factors could make Diekman an ideal trade candidate. He is a lefty, which the Tigers desperately need, and has the numbers that could provide a boost to the Tigers' bullpen. Despite an elevated ERA this season, he could be a good fit for the Tigers.
If the Tigers are looking to acquire a shortstop, Nick Franklin is the guy. He is putting up big numbers at triple-A, hitting .376 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs in 30 games, and has big league experience. Franklin hasn't produced in the majors, but a change of scenery that gets him out of Seattle's pitcher-friendly Safeco Field could do wonders to his numbers.
The ideal fit for the Tigers would be Tampa Bay Rays' Jake McGee. McGee is having a career year and with the Rays struggling, he could be on the trade block. He is 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA, allowing just 13 hits in 25.2 innings this season. Those numbers would easily be the best in the Tigers' pen. Add that he is a lefty who could replace a struggling Phil Coke, and he could be a difference-maker for the Tigers in the postseason.
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