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Bowden's Bullets: Tigers interested in Crisp

12/1/2011
AP Photo/Gail Burton

• The Detroit Tigers are interested in Coco Crisp to help them at the top of the order, as well as Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, and there are indications that they are open to dealing left fielder Delmon Young in the right deal.

• It looks like the Tigers won’t be able to pursue Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins but might be able to persuade Aramis Ramirez to take fewer years to play third base for them. The Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins also are playing on Ramirez. The Tigers re-signed the underrated Ramon Santiago, who did an adequate job for them last year. If Santiago had speed or power, he would be an everyday player. Instead he will platoon with Ryan Raburn at second base.



• The market continues to rise on Cespedes as GMs are attending his workouts now. His value already has gone past the $30.25 million that Aroldis Chapman received two years ago. Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo came away extremely impressed, and Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has purchased his plane ticket to see Cespedes, too. Cespedes is in the process of getting his temporary residency, and his agents are preparing his application for the commissioner’s office with hopes that they can get a deal done in Dallas during the winter meetings.

• Catchers seem to be the flavor of the month this offseason, the latest being the Los Angeles Angels’ acquisition of Chris Iannetta from the Colorado Rockies for right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Chatwood.

Frankly, Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd came out ahead in this trade and adds another good young arm to Drew Pomeranz and Alex White.

Even if Chatwood struggles at Coors Field, he should still be an asset who can be spun off to another team with a big ballpark like the San Diego Padres or Detroit Tigers. There are plenty of teams that would gladly take Chatwood -- a well-above-average athlete with a 93-95 mph fastball, a plus top-to-bottom curveball and a developing changeup. That should give him three plus pitches in time. For sure, his size is an issue, but he has a quick arm. He will have to develop some downward plane/life to reach his potential.

Though he posted a 4.75 ERA and an 1.669 WHIP last year, Chatwood still is just 21 and put up good numbers in the minor leagues. He has infinitely more upside than a 28-year-old catcher such as Iannetta. Chatwood is probably two years away from being an effective No. 3 starter. Once he reduces his walks, throw more strikes down in the zone and matures a bit, he will get there. For the Angels, catcher Hank Conger, a former No. 1 pick, still has upside and should beat out Iannetta in spring training. A change of scenery should help Iannetta; he’s a hard worker and good person but is almost too cerebral for his own good.

• Signing Ramon Hernandez was an upgrade for the Rockies, and Hernandez, historically a dead fastball hitter, will benefit from playing in Coors Field. He is solid calling a game and has become a dependable platoon catcher.

• Though Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland had successful wrist surgery and his recovery is expected to take between eight and 12 weeks, you never know how wrist injuries can affect hitters. Just ask Mark DeRosa or Mike Piazza. Though Moreland should be ready for the start of spring training, don’t be surprised if GM Jon Daniels acquires an inexpensive Plan B to give the Rangers depth.

• As evidenced by their frugal signings of veterans Mark Ellis, Adam Kennedy and Matt Treanor, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ payroll is going down significantly compared to last year, and realistically there isn’t any more payroll to shed. Their margin to add personnel through trade or free agency is tiny, and any trade by them will have to be an even-money deal. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti is hamstrung, but he would like to add another infielder who can serve as a backup at shortstop.

• Shortly after his hiring, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said the Cubs’ focus this offseason in part would be on improving team defense, adding more left-handed bats in the lineup. With their free-agent signing of outfielder David DeJesus, the Cubs have begun to address that. DeJesus, who turns 32 on Dec. 20, had a down year hitting .240/.323/.698. Slated to play right field, DeJesus simply does not produce what you need from a corner outfielder spot and is more of a third or fourth outfielder. Though he may bounce back to be the .280 hitter with 11 home runs and 70 RBIs that he’s averaged over his nine-year career, he clearly is in decline. DeJesus’ signing is a clear indication they do not believe Tyler Colvin can develop into an everyday player.