December 4th, 2009

Detroit shows interest in Crosby

Could there be a Crosby sighting in Detroit? No, not that Crosby; this is baseball, after all.

The player in question is Bobby Crosby, the former A’s shortstop who could emerge as an alternative to Adam Everett if the Tigers need one. An industry source confirmed that the Tigers have had discussions on Crosby, including talks with his agent, Paul Cohen. Interest appears to be mutual.

Like Everett a year ago, Crosby is hitting free agency coming off an injury-shortened season in which he did not end the year as a starting shortstop. Cohen told Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports earlier this week that landing in the right spot could jump-start things for the former American League Rookie of the Year, who has his 30th birthday coming up next month.

Cohen told Yahoo that about a half-dozen teams were showing interest in Crosby. That was before the Red Sox reached an agreement with Marco Scutaro to take over at shortstop.

Various published reports have linked interest in Crosby to the Rangers, Rockies and Pirates.

It’s believed that at least three clubs interested in Crosby have potential openings at shortstop. The Tigers would be one, having used Everett along with Ramon Santiago this past season. Others would be interested in him as a utility infielder.

Crosby played in 97 games for the A’s this past season, but made just two starts at shortstop behind Orlando Cabrera and Cliff Pennington. With just 272 plate appearances, Crosby batted .223 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 29 RBIs. He played a full season at short in Oakland in 2008, compiling a .972 fielding percentage with 17 errors in 144 starts while turning 99 double plays.

Crosby batted .237 that year with a career-high 39 doubles to go with seven homers, 61 RBIs and seven stolen bases.

The Tigers maintain interest in Everett, but news has been slow on that front. The Red Sox reportedly had been in touch with Everett’s agent, but again, that was before they reached agreement with Scutaro.

Whether it’s Everett, Crosby or someone else, via free agency or trade, the Tigers have to add a shortstop this offseason. Their current roster includes Santiago and prospects Brent Dlugach and Audy Ciriaco. Tigers officials have not viewed Santiago as an everyday player, and for now, they haven’t looked at Dlugach as ready quite yet.

Moreover, adding another shortstop would allow the Tigers to use Santiago as protection at second base if prospect Scott Sizemore has a setback from his ankle injury or otherwise struggles in the spring.

Clearing up Wilkin's situation

Just wanted to clear up the situation with Wilkin Ramirez, who was suggested in some published circles this week as a potential successor to Curtis Granderson in center field even though he played just two games this summer in center and a little bit of winter ball.

The winter ball assignment with Licey of the Dominican League came with a preference from the Tigers that he get some time in center field. However, it was more of an exploratory move than anything with a set plan, and it wasn’t full time.

“We were hoping for him to get a chance to play center field,” Tigers player development director. “He’s such an athlete. I don’t know what’s the next step.”

Ramirez was playing regularly in the early stages of the Dominican season, but he has been in more of a late inning or reserve role lately. That isn’t a surprise. A lot of winter ball teams in the Dominican rely on younger players early on until more established players join in later. By playoff time in January, the rosters tend to include some bigger-name Dominican players.

There’s a roster flexibility advantage for the Tigers if Ramirez can eventually play or fill in at all three outfield spots. He should have the athleticism to do it, but the question is whether he has the instincts.