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Mariners Beat Writer Thinks Tigers Could Trade For Jose Lopez

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Will the Detroit Tigers make a deal before baseball's July 31 trade deadline? With all the holes currently on the roster, most signs would seem to point to yes. ('s Jon Paul Morosi, for example, believes the Tigers will be buyers at the deadline.) Detroit could use a reliever, a starting pitcher, perhaps a shortstop, and with Brandon Inge's broken hand, might need a third baseman also.

It's the hole at third base, in particular, that has the Seattle Times' Geoff Baker thinking that the Tigers might make a deal with the Mariners for Jose Lopez.

For me, the one deal the M's could make by July 31 is Jose Lopez to Detroit. The Tigers need a third baseman now that Brandon Inge is out four to six weeks. Lopez is batting cleanup for the M's at the moment, but that doesn't mean anything. It's not like they would be trading a cleanup hitter.

Baker's not kidding. Lopez has six home runs and 39 RBIs to go with his .237/.265/.339 average. The Mariners are batting him there to make him look more appealing to other teams. But his defense at third base is pretty good, which is a rather important consideration for the Tigers. Going by Ultimate Zone Rating, Lopez ranks among the best defensive third basemen in the American League.

Because of that, however, the Mariners won't just give Lopez away. At worst, he could still contribute to this year's team. But he's the most likely to go.

Shortstop Jack Wilson is another Seattle player the Tigers have apparently shown interest in. (And they've been looking at him for years. Believe me, I chased all of those rumors.) But though the Mariners would probably like to shed his salary (almost $7 million, between this year and next) off their payroll, Baker thinks it's an unlikely move. Why? Seattle doesn't have anyone else to play shortstop everyday.

Morosi thinks the Tigers could go after yet another Mariner, reliever Brandon League. But Baker believes Seattle needs him (along with David Aardsma, one more possible trade chip), as the bullpen is short on live arms.