Feb 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs second basemanDarwin Barney
(15) fields grounders during camp at Chicago Cubs training facility at Mesa . Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers are currently dealing with a couple injuries at both shortstop with Jose Iglesias and in the outfield with outfielder Andy Dirks. Both men will be out of action for awhile, with Dirks having to undergo surgery recently
Dirks has been dealing with a back injury for at least 10 or so years, going back to his high school days. If anybody has suffered any type of back injury in their life, you know how quick of a problem it can be. Detroit will be hunting for potential replacements as fast as possible before Opening Day arrives. They could have gone after infielder Stephen Drew to take over at shortstop, but that only solves one problem, and has since been denied by the Tigers front office.
So why not just swap players?
According to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago, the Detroit Tigers have sent scouts to watch the Cubs in action this week. Who are they scouting? None other than Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney and outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
A move like this could make a whole lot of sense for both clubs. Yes, Barney is a second baseman and the Tigers did make a huge trade during the offseason that included Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. But I don’t see the harm in moving Barney to short, allowing the veteran Kinsler to stay at his position. Either way, Detroit would get some solid defense from Barney.
With Dirks out of the lineup for sometime, outfielder Torii Hunter would be forced to step it up and hit for power more than he would have to. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, but the guy is getting ready to turn 39 years old in July. The Cubs, as we all know, have a guy who is coming off a huge year with the club.
It was a bit surprising that Schierholtz wasn’t dealt last year, but relieving at the same time. Now who could the team ask for in return for these two position players as part of a package?
Simple answer, Max Scherzer.
Let me preface this by saying that it would take some top-level prospects, like Javier Baez, Albert Almora-type players to get this deal even close to done.
With that in mind, the 2013 AL Cy Young winner avoided arbitration with the Tigers during the offseason by agreeing to a one year deal worth $15.525 million. Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA in 2013) is currently looking for a contract extension but won’t address it during the regular season. One thing that the Cubs desperately need is, you guessed it, pitching. Especially when it comes to the starting rotation.
In my opinion, this club doesn’t have an ace on the pitching staff, while Detroit still has Justin Verlander. Speaking of Verlander, the Tigers decided to roll with the 2011 Cy Young winner as their Opening Day starter against the Kansas City Royals according to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports.
The asking price may be a little high, but I’m sure both teams could work out a deal if Detroit is serious about filling in those holes immediately. Not only would it allow them to save money by avoiding a large contract extension with Scherzer, but they could get something extra in return. Chicago is loaded with prospects who will eventually become household names. But would they be willing to throw in top prospects in a package that already includes Barney and Schierholtz for someone who could become this team’s ace starter?
The right-hander has put up some solid numbers over the last three seasons. In 2011, he finished with a record of 15-9 with a 4.43 ERA, 2012 he finished the year with a 16-7 record and a 3.74 ERA and then you have his Cy Young season. It’s also worth noting that he’s tallied strikeout numbers of 174, 184, 174, 231 and 240 from 2009 to 2013.
If the Tigers call the Cubs about both men, there’s no doubt that Max Scherzer’s name will be involved. A trade including these three men (and other prospects) could possibly become a great deal across the board for both sides, so don’t be surprised if this trade package surfaces within the next week or so.