We took a look last week at the possible destinations for Carlos Quentin, and what the Padres might be able to expect in return. It was reported earlier today that the Tigers join the list of teams that have interest in Carlos Quentin. This was not one of the teams I had considered, given their place five games out of first place and four games below .500, and given their strained payroll. The bigger question I have, above whether or not the Tigers should persue Quentin, is where the two teams will find a match.
It's fair to assume that both Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos are off of the table. The Tigers would be foolish to give up either of their top prospects for two to three months of Quentin, even if the Padres were willing to eat the remainder of his salary for the season, which they have not expressed a willingness to do. The Tigers weren't interested in trading Turner for a proven 5th starter this spring, and they have said that they are not willing to trade Castellanos for help this season. I am also going to make the assumption that they are not going to trade either of the young starters currently in their rotation, Drew Smyly or Casey Crosby, although that could change if Doug Fister makes a successful return.
Two of the Tigers top left-handed pitching prospects, Andy Oliver and Alex Burgos, have battled severe issues with control. Oliver has had an unsuccessful taste of the majors in each of the last two years, making seven starts over the past two years, and ending up with a 7.11 ERA. His problems in the majors were because of control (21 walks in 31 2/3 innings), which were the same problems that plagued him in the minors. Burgos is struggling with control this year for the first time, but his 6.7 BB/K are a significant reason for concern. Both have talent, but neither are a sure thing, although Burgos' struggles could be an aberration. Two others, Duane Below and Adam Wilk, are soft-tossing lefties who profile as number five starters at best.
Despite this, the Tigers still have some prospects in their system on the offensive side of the ball that are, at the very least, intriguing.
- Catching depth is actually a strength within their farm system, beginning with Rob Brantly, a 3rd round pick in 2010. A left-handed hitter, Brantly was recently promoted to Triple-A after hitting .311/.359/.461 in Double-A to start the season. The team also spent their 2nd round pick last year on a catcher, James McCann, who is good enough defensively to make it to the majors, and was hitting adequately in Lakeland at the time of his promotion to Double-A (to replace Brantly). The question about McCann will be whether or not he hits enough to be a big league regular.
- Steven Moya is a hulking 6'7" corner outfielder who is coming into his own in his second year in the Midwest League. He struggled there in a half-season in 2011, but this season he's hitting .294/.321/.471. He still has issues with plate discipline (just 9 walks in 216 plate appearances), but his power and size make him an intriguing project.
The Tigers farm system is devoid of legitimate power power prospects. In fact, Castellanos is the only legitimate prospect in the system slugging only .500. In the end, the Tigers and Padres don't appear to be a great fit as trading partners. The best trading pieces the Tigers have all come with at least one significant hole in their game, and their best offensive prospects are catchers, which the Padres hope to already have solidified for their future this past off-season.
If the Padres are willing to part with Quentin for a package of lesser prospects, than a deal could be made for some combination of Burgos/Brantly/Westlake/Below/Wilk, etc. The other case could be the Padres willingness to eat part or all of Quentin's salary in order to demand Smyly or Crosby, should one become expendable upon Fister's return.