It isn’t just pitching the Tigers are eyeing on the trade market. With Brandon Inge out 4-6 weeks with a broken left hand, they’re making it clear that they’ll look at help if they think they can swing a deal for a third baseman.
Asked if Inge’s eventual return, potentially ahead of schedule, affects their approach on the trade market, manager Jim Leyland chose his words carefully.
“I think it’s part of the equation,” Leyland said, “but I also think that a month to six weeks is a long time to go without him, if you’re fighting for a pennant. That doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence, but I don’t expect Scott Sizemore to be Brandon Inge. If anybody else does, they’re crazy.
“A month to six weeks is a long time to go without Brandon Inge right now. Then again, what does that mean? Is there somebody out there that makes sense, or somebody you don’t have to give up an arm and a leg for? That’s a tough call. I’ve thought about that, and that’s my answer. Four to six weeks is a long time. You can read into that whatever you want.”
There are options on the market at various prices. CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler wrote Friday that the Tigers expressed some interest in Mike Lowell, who’s set to begin a rehab assignment in the Red Sox farm system shortly. Boston has been trying to trade Lowell at various points this season, and likely wouldn’t require a lot, but the 36-year-old hasn’t played third base on an everyday basis since last year.
Jose Bautista is another rumored option on the market, and the Tigers will get plenty of looks at him this weekend with the Blue Jays in town. But with Bautista leading the Majors in home runs in his suddenly scintilliating season, Toronto could demand plenty in return.
Inge is a free agent at season’s end, as is Lowell. Bautista is arbitration eligible for another year.