With the trade deadline (July 31) fast approaching and the Tigers coveting starting pitching, it's only natural there's going to be rumors linking them to the pot of potentially available starting pitchers. There have already been reports of the team showing interest in Los Angeles Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda and Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez.
Now, Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com says we can add Atlanta Braves right hander and Michigan native Derek Lowe to that mix:
The Tigers, who currently have a vacancy in their starting rotation, are interested in acquiring veteran right-hander Derek Lowe from the Braves, major-league sources told FOXSports.com.
The sources indicated that the sides have not had serious talks, and Lowe’s high salary could be a big barrier for Detroit. He is owed roughly $6 million over the rest of this season and $15 million next year.
This comes a day after Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the Braves are "willing to listen" to offers for the 38-year-old Lowe, presumably due to the organization's inordinate amount of talented young arms.
Lowe is 5-7 in 20 starts this season with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. In 113 innings pitched, he has 89 strikeouts (6.5 K/9 -- his best in four years) opposite 41 walks (3.3 BB/9 -- his worst in seven years). He last pitched in the American League in 2004 when he was with the World Series Champions Boston Red Sox, where he posted a 4.92 ERA and 1.51 WHIP over his final two seasons.
He had a strong start to this season (3.21 ERA in April with nearly a strikeout per inning), but has been inconsistent ever since.
Lowe has predominantly relied on the ground ball throughout his career, averaging 1.66 ground ball per fly ball, more than twice the MLB average. While that sounds nice, the Tigers don't exactly have much range up the middle, especially with Carlos Guillen returning to the lineup.
As Morosi points out, the cost of acquiring Lowe would be considerably cheaper in terms of prospects than someone like Jimenez, but he is still owed an absurd $20 million through next season. Meanwhile, 27-year-old Jimenez would only cost $10 million through 2013, with a voidable club option of $8 million for 2014.
The Tigers were reportedly interested in bringing Lowe home in 2009 before he agreed to a 4-year, $60 million deal with the Braves, a contract most Braves fans would say Lowe has not lived up to.
Personally, I hope someone swoops in ahead of the Tigers this time around, too.
Stats via Baseball-Reference