December 11th, 2013

Wednesday morning Winter Meetings roundup

Winter Meetings Day 3 003

Expect a newsy day from the Winter Meetings one way or another. Brad Ausmus has his first managerial presser this afternoon here in the media workroom, which should attract a crowd, and Major League GMs and managers are meeting today about potential rules changes, including what can be done about home plate collisions. Last but not least, we’re still waiting for agent Scott Boras’ annual impromptu interview session, which always draws a crowd and could draw a question or two about Max Scherzer.

As far as moves go, however, all we have are rumors at this point.

Not surprisingly, news that the Tigers were among the teams to check in with the Dodgers about Matt Kemp this week drew some buzz, as well as several tweets suggesting video-game type of trade packages the Tigers could offer. Before this goes overboard (ok, it’s too late for that), a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The Tigers check in with pretty much every team about trade possibilities at the Winter Meetings. It’s a big part of what they do Sunday evening and Monday morning, sending out scouts and assistants to work the lobby and talk with scouts and assistants from other clubs to see what’s out there. Checking in with a team and having trade talks with a team are two entirely different things.
  2. If the Tigers were unwilling to dive into contract talks for Shin-Soo Choo, as sources said last night, it’s hard to see them picking up Kemp’s contract, which has six years and $128 million left on it.
  3. If the Dodgers are willing to eat some of Kemp’s remaining contract, it’s hard to see the Tigers having prospects to entice them to do so. The Tigers have some quality talent at the top, but to put together a package to make it worth the Dodgers’ while would create more holes than Detroit would fill with Kemp.

Bottom line, I’d be shocked if the Tigers could do much on Kemp. Between the contract and the recent injuries, it’s the type of deal that gets a GM superstar status if it works out, and gets him fired if it doesn’t. Andre Ethier arguably would be a better fit for them, both financially and talentwise.

The other rumor reported this morning came from Peter Gammons and later Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record, saying the Tigers and Yankees talked about an Austin Jackson for Brett Gardner trade. The speedy left-handed hitting Gardner is a year away from free agency, while Jackson has two years left, but Gardner is coming off a better year and has parlayed his speed into more offense than Jackson has. It’s not hard to see a plus from Detroit’s standpoint, but it’s difficult to see the motivation for the Yankees, who actually have too many outfielders at the moment and have been expected to use any potential Gardner trade to try to fill some holes at second base, third base or the rotation.

Lastly, a tweet from ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark cited a source saying the Tigers have told other teams they don’t plan on trading Max Scherzer even though they’re not optimistic about signing him.

And then came a tweet from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan:

It’s pretty much a reinforcement of what we’ve come to expect, though it doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t try to offer an extension to him this offseason.

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