The Tigers are currently battling for first place in the American League Central. To stay there, they should go after New York Mets’ shortstop Jose Reyes.
Reyes, who just turned 28 last Saturday, is in the prime of his career. He is having a great year at the plate, leading Major League Baseball with a .345 batting average, 98 hits, 11 triples and ranks third in stolen bases with 22.
Reyes is everything the Tigers need and want. The Tigers, who are in desperate need of a second baseman, would solve that issue by acquiring Reyes and implementing a little creative thinking.
Reyes could play shortstop, his natural position, while current shortstop Jhonny Peralta could be moved to third base. Beloved Tiger Brandon Inge, the one-time utility man (although he has never played a game at second base in the majors), can then be moved to second base. Inge, who was was willing to catch for the good of the team, would do anything to win and stay in the lineup. Peralta happens to have a better career fielding percentage at third base than Inge, .966 to.961.
Another reason to trade for Reyes would be because he could give the Tigers a dominant one-two punch of him and Austin Jackson at the top of the batting order.
Not many teams in the majors would be able to match up with that combination of speed, especially if Reyes continues to produce like he is currently and Jackson continues to improve.
However, the downfall of this idea includes two problems: 1. The fact that Reyes is considered a rental player for the rest of the season and 2. What the Tigers would be asked to give up to acquire Reyes.
Keep in mind, the Mets visit Comerica Park for an interleague series with the Tigers June 28-30. Comerica Park is built for a player like Reyes, with its spacious gaps for extra base hits. No doubt owner Mike Ilitch would be quick to reward Reyes with a long-term deal should he come here and perform.
The Tigers would most likely have to give one or two of their best pitching prospects along with Casper Wells and/or Andy Dirks.
Winning championships often require a risky more here or there in search of a big payoff. Making a deal for Reyes is a risk, one the Tigers should be willing to take. — Curtis Pulliam
Pulliam, a graduate of Oxford High School, is a sophomore at University of Detroit Mercy.