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2007 Hot Stove League

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(3) Targeted trades I'd be interested in:

1. De La Cruz, Trahern, and Brett Jensen for Joe Nathan.

2. Zach Miner and choose (1) of Vasquez, French, Nickerson, Bonine, or Badenhop for Jack Wilson. Did I forget anyone? Pirates can take their pick...

3. Nate Robertson, Ramon Santiago, Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Larish, and Duane Below for Jeremy Hermida and Scott Olsen.

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...We have something Atlanta needs - pitching. I am guessing Atlanta would want either Jair Jurrjens or Nate Robertson, along with another starting pitcher.

...my guess:)


SP - Nate Robertson

SP - Jordan Tata


SS - Edgar Renteria


I wouldn't wanna trade Nate for a SS. I'd rather have Nate than Livan Hernandez. Or get a MLB-ready starter back in trade somehow. I'd prfer giving minor leaguers for a SS.

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1. De La Cruz, Trahern, and Brett Jensen for Joe Nathan.

This would never happen .. some say to never say never .. well, I just said never, this would never happen:)

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I wouldn't wanna trade Nate for a SS

Well the word is down here that the fans know that Edgar will be traded, and most are even guessing that he'll be traded to Detroit. But Atlanta won't do the deal unless they get Robertson or Jurrjens, and I'd prefer to keep Jurrjens, which is the smart choice, so I expect Robertson to be dealt to Atlanta.

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Going with your lineup idea... using my (3) trades, and assuming we re-sign Rogers (if not... I'd be open to the Livan for a year-or-two idea...)

1. CF -- Curtis Granderson

2. 2B -- Placido Polanco

3. DH -- Gary Sheffield

4. RF -- Magglio Ordonez

5. 1B -- Carlos Guillen

6. LF -- Jeremy Hermida

7. 3B -- Brandon Inge (power potential)

8. C -- Pudge Rodriguez

9. SS -- Jack Wilson

Bench: Wilson, Raburn, Hollimon, and 1 of Thames or Timo Perez or other...

1. Justin Verlander

2. Kenny Rogers

3. Jeremy Bonderman

4. Scott Olsen

5. Jair Jurrjens

BP (Anticipated):

Joe Nathan

Joel Zumaya

Fernando Rodney

Bobby Seay

Tim Byrdak

Yorman Bazardo

and 1 of Capellan, Grilli, Rapada, McBride, Durbin, etc...

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Well the word is down here that the fans know that Edgar will be traded, and most are even guessing that he'll be traded to Detroit. But Atlanta won't do the deal unless they get Robertson or Jurrjens, and I'd prefer to keep Jurrjens, which is the smart choice, so I expect Robertson to be dealt.

Yeah... but if you're Detroit... Do you wanna give 1 of Nate or Jurrjens for Renteria? Or 2 minor league pitchers (not named Andrew Miller) for Jack Wilson? That's what the rumor was.

Personally, I wouldn't trade Nate OR Jurrjens for Renteria... not if I can get Wilson for two C+ minor league pitchers.

ATLANTA might want Nate or Jurrjens... but I think DD will feel the same way I do... it'd be a trade that he doesn't wanna do.

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You are not going to get Joe Nathan, buddy - sorry.

...and this might be a good time to tell you to stop with your Florida Marlins pipe dreams, cause they won't trade their young/cheap talent - sorry.

Flordia should trade Dontrelle Willis and most likely will, but I don't expect them to trade Hermida and/or Olsen, that's just not their style.

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This would never happen .. some say to never say never .. well, I just said never, this would never happen:)

The only reason I offered up Nathan for a trade (thanks, Twins!!! :grin:): is that if they really wanna make an effort to both: keep salaries within reason, and try to retain Hunter/ extend Santana... is they may offload Nathan.

It'd be a $$$ decision, similar to the Marlins.

I think the Twins have a plethora of younger relievers that could make a decent BP, and even takeover the closer spot. Going cheaper... I believe they're pretty high on Neshek, as well as Guerrier (for a setup role). They can hope Rincon gets back in form, they'll convert 1 of Slowey, Garza, Bonser or Baker to a middle reliever (if Lirinao gets back healthy)... and getting De La Cruz, Trahern, and Jensen for bullpen depth doesn't seem (to me) like a bad way to go...

All in the name of trying to keep Hunter and Santana that is...

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... Florida Marlins pipe dreams, cause they won't trade their young/cheap talent - sorry...

Yeah... but since it's the offseason and trading season hasn't yet ended (hasn't even started... :grin:), I get to dream a few pipe dreams for awhile...

Miggy Cabrera... Hanley Ramirez... sigh.

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PS: And if the Tigers offered (IF!!!) Cameron Maybin to the Marlins... I think we could start talking Miggy or Hanley... and not just dream it...

Those are two players I'd consider trading Maybin for... there are others... but maybe not on teams in the same financial position as the Marlins (Santana/ Twins would be another...), and therefore not as easy to dream up these wonderful scenarios... :grin:

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Dunno if Ibanez will be available or, if he is, if we want him. Other than about a 6 week stretch he wasn't very good last year. Fans were calling for his benching in Seattle. Mid-August he turned it on for a while but was cold again at the end of the season.

As of August 1 he sat at .254 BA with .307 /.391/ .697

At that point he had 7 homers with 61 RBI. Kind of Monroesque.

He also is a cornerstone guy for the M's at this point, despite his production challenges for most of the season, and they may feel they really need to keep him. Jose Guillen was better for Seattle last season. And he could have been had as a free agent for cheap. Ibanez is also weak in the field, at this point he might not be a big improvement on a Thames/Raburn platoon and, considering the cost, might not be worth it for the little potential increase in production we might get over such an arrangement.

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Here's a trade that is multidimensional and realistic.

Chad Tracy and (Tony Pena or Juan Cruz) for

Nate Robertson and Jeff Larish, Matt Joyce.

We add a hard thrwing set up guy and either a 3B/LF/1B.

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Here's a trade that is multidimensional and realistic.

Chad Tracy and (Tony Pena or Juan Cruz) for

Nate Robertson and Jeff Larish, Matt Joyce.

We add a hard thrwing set up guy and either a 3B/LF/1B.

Chad Tracy will be lucky to make it to spring training. He has a serious knee injury. Much as I like his bat - I would write him off as a trade target.

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Corky... I'd pass on Ibanez.

Sportz... That's not a bad offer. I'd go for Cruz, forget Pena. You're creating a hole in the rotation though...

How's Tracy's arm in LF? :grin:

He could platoon with Raburn or Thames in LF, and when he's not in LF he can give Inge days off and Guillen days off from 1st base... 125-140 games is a guess, plus PH'ing... And... he might not even platoon in Left... although I think Raburn deserves some playing time and has a dangerous bat...

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Chad Tracy will be lucky to make it to spring training. He has a serious knee injury...

Ewww. Didn't know that. How bad's the injury?

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...but I don't expect them to trade Hermida and/or Olsen, that's just not their style.

Don't forget though... at least in the offer I listed above: they'd be getting an exceptionally exciting young CF prospect in Gorkys, a very good 1B prospect in Larish (who could be a cheap replacement for Mike Jacobs in a year or two), and an interesting pitcher in Below.

I know what you're saying... I expect them to trade Willis and field offers for Cabrera as well... and they will try to avoid trading guys like Hermida & Olsen.

But if the right offer comes along, I think they'd at least consider it...

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Here are some Twins rumors on Hunter and Santana:

Link: http://www.startribune.com/507/story/1479785.html


Hunter will stay if Twins' offer is right

The center fielder wants a five-year contract this offseason, and the Twins might need to trade Johan Santana if they want to sign him to one.

By Sid Hartman, Star Tribune

Last update: October 11, 2007 – 10:21 PM

The Twins have a good chance to sign Torii Hunter if they are willing to meet his demand of a five-year contract calling for $15 million a year or $75 million in guaranteed money. Earlier ...turned down the Twins' offer of a three-year contract for $45 million, but ...say he wants to stay here and would accept the five-year offer.

The Twins ...want their total payroll to be about 50-52 percent of their revenue. ...it comes down to ...facing a choice of keeping either ...Santana or Hunter. Keeping both would have a serious impact ...years to come, perhaps hurting their ability to sign players such as Cuddyer and Morneau.

By ...trading Santana, ...might be able to acquire the third baseman and designated hitter they need.

...Hunter wants to play in the new Twins stadium, which is set to open in 2010, for more than one season. The Twins should do all they can to make this happen. ...

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

"Twins should do all they can to make this happen"... (PERHAPS... by dumping a bunch of secondary players instead of Santana, like Lew Ford, Matt LeCroy, Josh Rabe (all just rejected outright to AAA and therefore are FA's...), letting Rondell White come off the books, and trading expensive relievers like Joe Nathan?!?!?! :grin:)

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Chad Tracy will be lucky to make it to spring training. He has a serious knee injury. Much as I like his bat - I would write him off as a trade target.

Hmmm... well maybe the D-Backs would throw in Carlos Quentin as well... a 2-for-the-price-of-1 injured players special?!?!?! :grin:

Link: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/99413

D-Backs notebook: Contract extension for Melvin likely in works

Jack Magruder, Tribune


The Diamondbacks lost some flexibility in any attempt to add a starting pitcher or two this winter when potential trade piece Carlos Quentin underwent surgery Thursday to repair labrum and rotator cuff problems in his left shoulder. Quentin’s recovery time is expected to be six months, according to D-Backs officials, which would make him unable to play until mid-April and untradeable until he returns to health, not that the D-Backs are committed to moving him.

With Chad Tracy’s return from right knee surgery also likely to extend into 2008 spring training, however, the D-Backs have lost two potential trading chips as they shop for rotation support.

They will need a replacement for free-agent-to-be Livan Hernandez and may consider acquiring another starter as insurance for Randy Johnson, who underwent back surgery in July. The D-Backs are committed to a trade rather than entering the more expensive free agent market.

Quentin, projected to be the starting right fielder and a middle-of-the-order bat, suffered a labrum injury in a spring training game March 16 against Oakland and was never the same. ...

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Anyone interested in Rowand for $84 mill? (Plus some other Phillies grapevine stuff...)

Link: http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/102-10122007-1422472.html

Schilling, Rivera on shopping list



... The Phils are not optimistic they'll re-sign All-Star center fielder Aaron Rowand, who is weeks away from free agency and seeking a humungous payday on the heels of a career year in 2007. ... had a recent chat with Rowand's agent, Craig Landis, and was floored to discover Rowand is seeking a six-year, $84 million contract. The Phils think Rowand's value is in the three-year, $30 million range, and it's believed they'd be willing to go there, maybe even a little higher. But unless Rowand comes way off his $14 million-per-year asking price and cuts the years in half, the Phillies will spend the money elsewhere.

...Platoon third baseman Greg Dobbs also could play more outfield next year if the Phils get an upgrade at third, which also is in their plans.

The Phillies, by the way, still are willing to trade Burrell, who has one year at $14 million remaining... The Phils are willing to eat part of Burrell's remaining dough — how much is unknown — and it's possible an American League team might pursue the slow-footed left fielder as a designated hitter. Burrell has a full no-trade clause, but might waive it if the Phils kick in a $1.5 million buyout...

Randy Miller can be reached at randarino@aol.com.

October 12, 2007 4:56 AM

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If the Tigers don't actually pursue ARod, I hope they still spend big on other players. Imagine if they signed Mike Lowell out of the blue, traded for Renteria, and made Inge the multiposional player he was in 2004.

Then signed Schilling and Rivera to replace Rogers and Jones.

Then finish the off season by acquiring KG Junior to play LF.

Ouch! That would cost over 50 million! Sorry. Try again.

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A cheaper route would be to aqcuire Brad Lidge and Luke Scott from the Astros, sign free agents: David Eckstein at SS, Mike Lamb as a backup INF, and lefty bat to compliment Inge at 3B. Reliever Scott Linebrink, and take a flyer on injury prone SP's like Matt Clement or Freddy Garcia.

I don't think any of these guys would cost more than 6 million each.

Then IF there's still 8 to 15 million left, sign either Schilling or Livan Hernandez.

That would give the rotation two starters, the bullpen two quality relievers, a shortstop, and a COUPLE lefty bats for 3B and LF.

The Houston trade might cost Jurrjens, Miner, Thames/Raburn, Infante, and Capellan. That seems reasonable.

I see that although he had a decent season, that Lidge blew like 8 saves for the Astros, but he might fare better pitching at Comerica, and a change of leagues could do wonders.

Scott was an interesting prospect last year as DD inquired about him, but only hit .255 this year. He still has power potential after hitting 18 homers. He might come cheaper now that the Astros have Hunter Pence in the fold. Pence would be another idea, but he bats righty.

I'd rather have Renteria over Eckstein, but for some reason, I've got a feeling that Eck will be wearing the old English D next year. Leyland seems to like him.

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Ask BA has a couple interestimg tidbits (I'm sticking it here because of the Johan Santana potential-trade question... also: note the comments on former Tiger's prospect Scott Moore...):

Link: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/askba/265081.html

If you have a question, send it to askba@baseballamerica.com. Please include your full name and hometown if you'd like your letter to be considered for use in an upcoming column. Also, please understand that we can't respond to every question.

By Jim Callis

October 21, 2007

I'm going to have to offer a dual World Series prediction, because after five innings, Game Seven of the American League championship series is too close to call. If the Red Sox hold onto their one-run lead, I think they'll beat the Rockies in a seven-game World Series. If the Indians rally for the victory, I'm picking Colorado in six games because C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona look gassed.

As a Twins fan, I'm very concerned about losing Johan Santana to free agency and only getting a couple of draft picks in return after 2008. If they know they can't sign him, I think they should trade him this winter by offering him up to the highest bidder. What are some of the fair trade offers that teams could offer (young players and minor leaguers obviously), assuming they could afford to sign him long term? How about this one: Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Andy LaRoche from the Dodgers? Is that fair for both teams? Bryan Hylden - Washington, D.C.

New Twins general manager Bill Smith will have to hit the ground running. Not only does he need to re-sign or replace Torii Hunter and try to bolster the American League's third-worst offense, but he also has to make a decision on Santana, the best starting pitcher in baseball since Minnesota moved him to the rotation in mid-2003.

Does he re-sign him? Will owner Carl Pohlad, who has been stingy with his baseball team despite a net worth of $3 billion, sign off on that move? Does Smith deal Santana now? Does he wait until next July's trade deadline?

If the Twins trade Santana this offseason, the team that acquires him likely will make sure it can lock him up with a long-term deal. It wouldn't make sense for a club to give up a ransom for him and then risk losing him after one season. It also figures to cost three quality young players to pry Santana from Minnesota.

Bryan's Dodgers suggestion is fair. The Twins might want more established players, but they'd be getting a potential No. 1 starter in Kershaw, who's the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues. Kemp and LaRoche both have the tools to become all-stars in right field and third base, respectively. The hot corner has been a black hole for Minnesota the last two years, as Nick Punto has provided two homers and 70 RBIs combined in 2005-06.

The bigger question is whether Los Angeles would pull the trigger on that trade. Santana figures to command at least five years at a rate of at least $20 million per seasons, and both those estimates are on the conservative side. Kemp is two years away from arbitration, LaRoche is three years away and Kershaw has yet to make his big league debut. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt might not like the financial implications of that deal.

The two teams that could most easily afford Santana, both in terms of spending on him and giving up cost-controlled talent, are obviously the Yankees and Red Sox.

New York probably would have to offer a package that would include one of Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes; Melky Cabrera (who could replace Hunter in center); and a prospect such as Ian Kennedy or Jose Tabata. The Yankees have been so protective of their new wave of young players—as teams that discussed deals with them at this year's deadline know all too well—that they might not go for a deal like this.

To get a deal done, the Red Sox trio would be something along the lines of Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and a prospect such as Jed Lowrie (who could solve Minnesota's third-base woes) or Justin Masterson. Boston might part with that combination, but the Sox probably would prefer to substitute Jon Lester for Buchholz or Coco Crisp for Ellsbury.

I had kicked around this subject as a column topic before Bryant sent in this question, and I may explore it in further depth in an upcoming issue. One thing is certain: Rumors will continue to swirl around Santana until the Twins sign him or trade him.

I was fairly impressed with what I saw from third baseman Scott Moore in the last few weeks of the season. Was he a top prospect when the Cubs traded him to the Orioles? What kind of player can we expect him to become? Andy Conner - Baltimore

After coming over with Rocky Cherry in an August trade for Steve Trachsel, Moore batted .255/.260/.362 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 17 games with Baltimore. The eighth overall pick in the 2002 draft by the Tigers, Moore is now 23 and was blocked in Chicago by Aramis Ramirez. Had he stayed with the Cubs, they were grooming him to be able to back up all four infield and outfield corners, and he even played some shortstop in the Arizona Fall League last year.

Moore won't be a cornerstone and he doesn’t appear to be a regular on a contender, but he could give the Orioles more production than they're getting from third base (Melvin Mora) or left field (Jay Payton). Moore projects to hit .240-.260 with 15-20 homers a year. He's a decent fielder at third base, though prone to errors. For the short term, Baltimore has Mora making more than $18 million for 2007-08 and Payton bringing home $5 million in 2007, so Moore may have trouble winning a starting job, even if he deserves a look.

What is your assessment of outfielder John Bowker in the Giants system? ... Lyle Bontrager - Memphis

... Like Moore, Bowker is more of a reserve on a good club and not a player of great long-term value.

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Geoff Jenkins is to Lynn Henning as Jack Wilson is to JP Morosi:


Geoff Jenkins, Brewers left fielder

Age: 33 (July 21, 1974)

B/T: left/right

Ht./wt.: 6-1/210


2007 132 21 64 32 116 .255

Career 1,234 212 704 394 1,118 .277

 Although he technically remains Brewers property, Jenkins is headed for free agency. Milwaukee formally will announce in a few days that Jenkins' 2008 option ($9 million, with a $600,000 buyout) won't be picked up.

 At that point, the Tigers can get busy courting a left-handed hitter who has the power and the glove manager Jim Leyland would find acceptable in left field.

 Jenkins has hit as many as 34 homers in a season (2000). He also plays defense well enough to work in right field as easily as in left.

 The Tigers, of course, are in need of a transition left fielder ahead of Cameron Maybin 's presumed arrival as a regular there, probably in 2009. Jenkins fills the bill on multiple fronts. Signing him as a free agent means no existing major or minor league talent must be forfeited. And because Milwaukee will have also declined to offer him arbitration for 2009, Detroit runs no risk of losing a draft pick.

 They also can expect to sign Jenkins to a healthy, two-year deal, which is the sort of low-risk package the Tigers are known to favor.

 The Tigers will by no means be Jenkins' only pursuer. The Twins will be chasing him, as will a host of others pining for outfield versatility. The Tigers, however, likely will be tough to beat, and not only because they will almost certainly satisfy Jenkins' financial needs. It is known Jenkins wants to play for a contender and that he regards Leyland as his kind of manager.

• Tigers' chances: 75 percent

Edgar Renteria,

Braves shortstop

Age: 32 (Aug. 7, 1975) B/T: right/rightHt./wt.: 6-1/200


2007 124 12 57 46 77 .332

Career 1,722 117 762 597 941 .291

 Here, no doubt, is the Tigers' top option to replace Carlos Guillen at shortstop. Renteria just wrapped up a honey of a season for the Braves: .390 on-base percentage, .470 slugging percentage for a terrific OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .860.

 He is less impressive defensively, mostly because his range is lukewarm. His arm, however, is strong and the Tigers would consider the two-time Gold Glove winner a modest upgrade over Guillen.

 His contract is somewhat complex but of no serious consequence to a new team. Renteria will make $9 million next season, although the Red Sox, who signed him to a whopping free-agent deal in 2004, are on the hook for nearly $3 million of that figure in '08, as well as a $3 million option buyout, if his owning club chooses to part ways with him in 2009. Otherwise, the '09 payday is a hefty $11 million.

 The Tigers, however, would view those numbers as no deal-breaker.

 Prying him loose from the Braves, who are ready to turn their full-time job over to Yunel Escobar , will require pitching -- starting pitching, to be exact. How much the Tigers would be obliged to give up will determine whether Renteria spends next year in Detroit or elsewhere.

 One thing in Detroit's favor is the relationship between Dave Dombrowski and new Atlanta general manager Frank Wren . Dombrowski hired Wren when he was GM at Montreal and the two worked again in Florida. They remain close colleagues.

 More than friendship between respected GMs, of course, will be involved in any possible trade for Renteria. But this is a deal that has a legitimate shot at happening.

• Tigers' chances: 50 percent

Jack Wilson, Pirates shortstop

Age: 29 (Dec. 29, 1977)

B/T: right/right

Ht./wt.: 6-0/195


2007 135 12 56 38 46 .296

Career 997 55 336 217 458 .269

 The Tigers definitely were interested in Wilson last summer. And then a couple things happened. Former Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield pretty much ensured that "former" would become part of his new title when he backed off a trade that would have sent Wilson to the Tigers and instead opted for a hallucinogenic deal that brought right-hander Matt Morris to the Pirates' floundering ship.

 Littlefield is gone and, based upon new realities in Pittsburgh, so, perhaps, is Detroit's interest in Wilson. He has a bad contract with the Pirates ($13.75 million spanning 2008 and '09, with an $8.4 million option and $600,000 buyout for 2010), which isn't necessarily prohibitive, especially if the Pirates softened their trade demands or agreed to pick up some of the bill.

 Wilson definitely looms as an option. He turns 30 in December and had a .350 on-base percentage last season. He has excellent range and was fifth among all big league shortstops in assists.

 If you're keeping vigil over the Tigers and their hunt for a shortstop, this has guarded potential.

• Tigers' chances: 30 percent

Francisco Cordero, Brewers closer

Age: 32 (May 11, 1975)

B/T: right/right

Ht./wt.: 6-2/235


2007 66 0-4 44 18 86 2.98

Career 470 26-27 177 231 528 3.29

 Tigers fans will recall that once upon a time, Detroit had this hard-throwing right-hander of sterling potential . They also will wince when they remember Cordero was part of a November 1999 trade that sent six Tigers to the Rangers for Juan Gonzalez (whose biggest contribution to the franchise was NOT signing the $148 million extension offered to him).

 He has had a glorious career: 49 saves for the Rangers in 2004, 37 saves in 2005, and, this past -- and best -- season, 86 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. He is hitting the market at prime time. But the Tigers will pass.Could not the Tigers consider Joel Zumaya their set-up man and sign someone such as Cordero, or Mariano Rivera ? And isn't it possible Todd Jones , the team's presumed transition closer ahead of Zumaya, will end up elsewhere, leaving the Tigers scrambling?

 Sure. But to get Cordero you would need to tack another $10 million to $15 million onto a payroll that already is moving north in a hurry. And the only entity not particularly bothered by deficit spending is the United States government.

• Tigers' chances: 5 percent

Mariano Rivera, Yankees closer

Age: 37 (Nov. 29, 1969)

B/T: right/right

Ht./wt.: 6-2/185


2007 67 3-4 30 12 74 3.15

Career 787 62-44 443 238 857 2.35

 Oh, yes, the Yankees did more than push manager Joe Torre aside last week with their foolish -- and cowardly -- decision to present Torre with an offer he had to refuse. They probably messed up their personal free-agent market, too.

 Bullpen super-saver Mariano Rivera is no sure ticket to return to the Yankees. He has made it clear he appreciated Torre's maturity in a Yankees dugout that cries for it. Now, it appears, Rivera will more seriously consider alternative homes for next season and beyond, which is why the Tigers almost certainly will not be involved.

 Still pitching beautifully, he also will demand a prince's ransom wherever he works: a three-year contract, minimally, and probably something around $35 million to $40 million. The Tigers would not be opposed, even at that lofty price, were it not for Joel Zumaya .

 The reality is Rivera will end up with his current employer. The new Yankees manager will waste no time in joining the front office in throwing a "We Want Mariano" party. At that time, the checkbook will be presented, with Rivera pretty much free to fill in the numbers.

• Tigers' chances: 3 percent

Raul Ibanez, Mariners left fielder

Age: 35 (June 2, 1972)

B/T: left/right

Ht./wt.: 6-2/220


2007 149 21 105 53 97 .291

Career 1,222 159 684 382 677 .285

 Adding a powerful left-handed bat is one of the Tigers' offseason missions. It's finding the right bat, at the right price, that's the sticky part, particularly when position needs are considered.

 The Mariners will be offering Ibanez to interested parties, as he has a year remaining on his contract ($5.5 million for 2008) and is not the defensive player his current team cares to deploy anymore.

 The Tigers just happen to have a vacancy in left field as well as a need for the brand of left-hander whose career year -- 33 homers, 123 RBIs -- took place just two years ago. He also is a .301 career hitter with six homers and 30 RBIs at Comerica Park.

 But they almost certainly will not be bringing Ibanez to Detroit, where he would be an even greater defensive liability in Comerica Park's more spacious plains.

 Acquiring Ibanez also would force the Tigers to trade someone of reasonable, big league quality to the Mariners, another reason to loath such a deal.

• Tigers' chances: 0.5 percent

Torii Hunter, Twins center fielder

Age: 32 (July 18, 1975)

B/T: right/right

Ht./wt.: 6-2/225


2007 160 28 107 40 101 .287

Career 1,234 192 711 319 870 .271

 Ah, yes. The Tigers need a left fielder who can play more like a center fielder, given Comerica Park's outfield expanses. And one of the most spectacularly gifted defensive center fielders of the modern era -- six Gold Gloves -- is about to hit the free-agent market.

 Lots of Tigers fans argue Hunter would satisfy a need defensively as well as bring a solid bat to the lineup. Perhaps true. Except the downside is considerable: Hunter already rejected a $15 million offer from the Twins. And he simply isn't a $17 million per-year player.

 The Tigers also would lose their first-round draft pick next season as compensation to the Twins, and that isn't the kind of prospect a team can forfeit when it intends to build for the long term.

 But the real reason the Tigers should not consider Hunter is because they don't need him. Cameron Maybin , no matter how unimpressive he might have looked during his cameo, is going to be Torii Hunter-plus as he grows into a big league star.

 Meanwhile, Hunter will be settling into a lavish contract as center fielder for the Rangers, who have the need and dollars to sign him.

• Tigers' chances: 0 percent

Andruw Jones, Braves center fielder

Age: 30 (April 23, 1977)

B/T: right/right

Ht./wt.: 6-1/210


2007 154 26 94 70 138 .222

Career 1,761 368 1,117 717 1,394 .263

 Scott Boras would love to own the one thing even he cannot seem to acquire: a time machine. He quickly would crank it back to 2006, when Jones was coming off a 41-homer season and loomed as one of the 2007 offseason's few gold-plated free agents.

 Jones promptly had a terrible year from a batting-average standpoint. So despite being an eight-time Gold Glove winner, those numbers are going to scorch you when it comes to free-agent money.

 Jones' problem is that his body might be worn out. Since the 1998 season, he has played 30 more games than any other player in the National League. He had elbow and shoulder troubles this year that might or might not clear up ahead of 2008.

 Of course, the Tigers would not be interested even if he were 100 percent healthy and coming off another 40-homer year. Curtis Granderson will play center field for the Tigers next season and Cameron Maybin will be nearby in 2009.

 Jones is not a fit -- financially, or strategically -- for the Tigers.

• Tigers' chances: 0 percent

Kenny Rogers,

Tigers starter

Age: 42 (Nov. 10, 1964)

B/T: left/left

Ht./wt.: 6-1/190


2007 11 3-4 4.43

Career 732 210-143 4.19

 Much to the suspected irritation of his agent, Scott Boras , Rogers confided two months ago it was "either here or nowhere" for him next season.

 Terrific, the Tigers thought. And not only because Rogers' desires could make negotiations a lot easier once he hits the free-agent market after the World Series.

 The Tigers happen to want Rogers back -- badly. They want him performing again as the sage, precise, spectacularly athletic left-handed craftsman who, when healthy, has been a major player in Detroit's baseball turnaround since he signed a two-year deal in December 2005. Rogers -- and Boras -- are keeping an open mind on any forthcoming offers. But there is too much mutual affinity for a Tigers renewal to not happen.

 Although anything can happen, the likelihood is Rogers will sign a meaningful, one-year contract. And the Tigers will consider this as important to their 2008 effort as any check they could possibly write.

• Tigers' chances: 90 percent

Todd Jones,

Tigers closer

Age: 39 (April 24, 1968)

B/T: left/right

Ht./wt.: 6-3/230


2007 63 1-4 38 4.26

Career 937 54-62 301 3.93

 The Tigers quietly have been as clear on the Jones issue as they have been with respect to Rogers. They would like to sign him for one more season while waiting to move Joel Zumaya into the closer's role at an appropriate speed

 The question is whether Jones will view the Tigers as his best option.

 Although he turns 40 in April, Jones, who has racked up 115 saves the past three seasons, conceivably could draw a two-year offer from some team that finds itself in a pinch. Jones has said neither money nor length of any forthcoming contract are as important to him as making the right choice, based on family considerations and what he believes remains in his tank.

 For that reason, it has been assumed he will re-up for another season.

 What might change the landscape is if a team closer to his Alabama residence -- Atlanta, specifically -- were to make him an offer, though there is no indication the Braves have Jones in mind.

• Tigers' chances: 80 percent

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