Tigers let deadline pass

BOSTON — The Tigers, who are 2 1/2 games behind Brandon Inge’s Oakland Athletics in the wild-card race, didn’t acquire anyone such as Inge – or anyone else – in the final hours before today’s annual trading deadline.

The Tigers did make any last-minute deals. The first-place White Sox had not made any late moves either, but the Indians did make a minor transaction. They sent Double-A knuckleballer Steven Wright to the Red Sox for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson, who’s 1 for 8 in six games this season with Boston.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said this evening that since last week’s trade, his trade talks dealt exclusively with finding part-time right-handed batter: “We never really came close.

“We made our major deal. We’re happy with our ballclub. You tweak it if you can … We’re happy with our club as it shapes up. I think we can win the way we are.

“This is our club right now. This is our club. The distraction of the trading deadline is over, and our distraction is the same as everybody else’s. But this is our club.”

Less than an hour before the deadline, CSNChicago.com reported that the Tigers were talking to the Cubs about a deal for leftfielder Alfonso Soriano, who has been a spectacular player at times in his 14-year career.

The right-handed-hitting Soriano, who has 19 homers this season and 359 in his career, could still be traded in August if he clears


But there would still be two complications for any club to acquire him. Soriano, 36, has a no-trade clause. And he has two more years left on his contract at a whopping $18 million per year.

Dombrowski said of Soriano: “We never discussed him during this whole time period — the whole trading period. His name never came up one time. So wherever that came from, that was not accurate. I heard that, too. We did speak with the Cubs. But I never spoke about Soriano.”

If the Tigers had one need after last week’s major trade with Miami, it was for a right-handed hitter who will play leftfield against left-handed pitching. Whatever bid the Tigers made to find someone for that role apparently didn’t work out.

Ryan Raburn currently has that part-time role. Raburn is hitting .173 this season with one homer and 12 RBIs.

Inge probably wasn’t a candidate to take over Raburn’s role (it would have involved his return to the outfield). And Inge was hitting .100 (2-for-20) when the Tigers released him in April. He was one of the team’s three second basemen at the time.

The Tigers begin play tonight in Boston closer to the A.L. Central lead (1 1/2 games) as to the final wild-card spot (two games). The Angels now hold that second wild-card spot.

The Tigers’ offense hasn’t done much at any stage of the game in the last week, especially the late


Last week’s trade for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez came at what, for now, stands as the high-water mark of the Tigers’ season. It came with the Tigers, continuing a week-long hitting revival, having just swept the White Sox to go from 1 1/2 games behind them to a 1 1/2 game lead in the AL Central.

In one swap, the Tigers believed they improved both second base and the fifth spot in the rotation. In return for three prospects, including top pitching prospect Jacob Turner, the Tigers received Infante and Sanchez.

Since the deal, the Tigers have gone 2-5 on a trip to Cleveland, Toronto and Boston. In only one of those games have they scored five runs. Sanchez gave up three homers as he lost his debut last Saturday. Infante is 4-for-24 and hasn’t knocked in a run.

Of course, the earliest this deal can be judged is at season’s end: Did it help the Tigers reach the World Series?

As far as Turner, it can’t really be judged for least five years.

And in fairness to Sanchez and Infante, they are dealing not only with the sudden uprooting of being traded, but they are also adjusting to a new league after each spent the last several seasons in the NL.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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