Monday, July 24, 2006

Soriano signals World Series run

The baseball season has hit late July, and you know what that means.

Trade rumors.

They’re swirling around once again, and this year, big names are blowing around with virtually every team outside of Kansas City or Pittsburgh in the hunt.

And for the first time in a decade, the Tigers are serious players at the July 31 trade deadline, looking to buy rather than sell.

(For all of you who were up in arms last July when G.M. Dave Dombrowski dealt Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves for a couple of minor league pitchers, let me clue you in on one thing: they were not buyers in any sense of the imagination. And one of those minor league pitchers is 6-2 as a rookie. Zach Miner, anyone?)

So, as we get pelted daily with rumblings of players headlined by the Washington Nationals Alfonso Soriano, let’s all collectively do something.

First, find the nearest mirror and look it square in the eye. Then, repeat after me.

“Alfonso Soriano.”


“World Series.”

Then pinch yourself.

Because if Dombrowski does pluck Soriano from the Nationals, the Tigers will undoubtedly become the World Series favorite in the American League.

The Nationals reportedly want Tigers top pitching prospect Humberto Sanchez, who is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA at Toledo, another high pitching prospect like Toledo’s Jordan Tata or the rising Jair Jurrgens in Erie, and an additional prospect, most likely a positional player.

Sanchez’ potential prowess on the mound is compared to the dynamic rookie duo of Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya.

But the success Verlander and Zumaya have enjoyed thus far have Tiger fans jaded.

Jaded, because for every Verlander there’s a Rick Ankiel, and for every Zumaya there’s a Ryan Anderson, prospects who were billed the next big thing but couldn't produce.

So who’s to say Sanchez will turn out to be more of a stud than dud? The unknown factors of the potential deal are what make it all the more fascinating.

Although the loss of Sanchez would be key in the deal, the most important factor is that Soriano is an unrestricted free agent next winter, and will test the market.

He is the crown jewel of next year’s class, and he will cash in after being dictated to join the Texas Rangers, then the Nationals via trade. Many people believe he wants to go back to New York.

You don’t think the Yankees would love an Alfonso Soriano right now?

If Soriano wants to wear pinstripes again, he will, because George Steinbrenner’s pockets seemingly grow larger each year.

The probable departure of Soriano would then leave the Tigers with a three month rental of the five-time All-Star for the top pitching prospect in the organization.

Not exactly a wise flip-flop.

But the reward that can be reaped in October from an Alfonso Soriano smack dab in the middle of an already dangerous lineup is immeasurable.

That reward is a World Series championship, which would certainly vindicate any kind of deal bringing Soriano to the Motor City, regardless of whether he stays or not.

Somewhere, Dave Dombrowski is asking for a raise.

And something tells me he’s going to get it.

Dombrowski has made shrewd moves to get this team to where they are today. The Jeff Weaver trade that brought Jeremy Bonderman in, acquiring Placido Polanco from the Phillies last summer, and the signings of Pudge Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers form the nucleus of this first-place

So as the trade deadline looms, Dombrowski will once again be put to the test.

Is Soriano the missing piece to the puzzle, or is the risk of losing him too great to part ways with a young fireballer?

This city and these fans have been starving for a winner for nearly 20 years now, and everyone, including the players, can taste it.

But the first-place Tigers have merely tasted how sweet victory can be with their 64-31 record now compared to the jubilation of winning in late October.

To do that, Dombrowski will once again make the right move at the deadline.

The right move is Alfonso Soriano.

1 comment:

Matt said...

And now he's probably going to the ChiSox.

Oh well.