The Detroit Tigers were hoping to find a second baseman this offseason, but the market at that position is shrinkingafter Aaron Hill re-signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. With options becoming increasingly limited, general manager Dave Dombrowski will likely be forced to upgrade second base with a trade.
According to FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers are looking at the Atlanta Braves' Martin Prado as a possibility. The Braves have shown interest in dealing Prado, who's eligible for a raise in arbitration over the next two years, to free up some payroll to allow for some roster flexibility.
Morosi also reports that Detroit might be willing to trade Delmon Young if it helped getting a second baseman. But there's no word on whether or not the Braves would want Young in return for Prado. Atlanta is looking for a power-hitting left fielder, but with Young likely to get an arbitration-fueled raise this season, he might cost more than the Braves want to spend on a player who still has some question marks.
Though Prado's numbers were down last season, he is exactly the sort of contact hitter who can get on base that the Tigers need at the top of their lineup. Prado missed six weeks this past season due to a staph infection in his right calf that eventually spread to his knee. After returning, he struggled with finding a consistent swing and got himself into bad habits at the plate.
But Prado is a career .293 hitter with a .341 on-base percentage. He doesn't hit for much power (15 homers is his career-high), but he also doesn't strike out much (52 in 590 plate appearances this past season). Despite not drawing many walks (34 in 2011), Prado still gets on base at a decent rate. He just mostly hits his way there.
By the way, some guy on MLive.com suggested the Tigers pursue Prado two weeks ago when trade rumors started rumbling. I don't know what he was thinking, but he was thinking.
One other note from Morosi: If the Tigers were to trade Young, he speculates that the team might try to fill that left field spot with a speedier, more athletic player. The name Morosi mentions is Coco Crisp, who would vastly improve Detroit's outfield defense, though it's unknown if he would be willing to play left field.