A few weeks after Mark Teixeira returns from the DL and, hopefully, gets into form again quickly to prove his value hasn’t slipped, the title of this post should become a real sports pages headline.
After thinking long and hard, and researching who’s out there, what team(s) could benefit most from adding Teixeira and who can offer what the Rangers must get in return for Tex, Detroit looks to be the most likely destination.
Consider what the Tigers have to gain. By adding Teixeira – a significant upgrade offensively and defensively compared to Sean Casey – to their already potent lineup, they could continue to out slug anybody in baseball.
They already rank first in the majors in almost every major offensive statistic. But that is being driven by a career, MVP-pace season from Maglio Ordonez, career years from Placido Polonco and Omar Infante, and a power resurgance from Gary Sheffield. One or two of those guys are bound to cool off – or worse, get hurt – for at least some stretch of the season. And in the hyper-competitive AL Central, a couple of slumps could send the Tigers into third place and out of the playoffs in no time flat.
On the mound, there’s no organization with more major-league proven talent for starting pitchers. Verlander and Bonderman will headline their rotation for years to come. And with Kenny Rogers getting close to returning, if he’s just 75% as good as last year, then Chad Durbin and Mike Maroth (both pitching well this season) with continue to thrive in the 4 and 5 spots. That sends Nate Robertson and his tired arm to the Tigers bullpen for long relief and spot starts.
With Rogers back and Teixeira providing added insurance against a slump or two sending the Tigers offense sputtering out of contention, the Tigers would be favored to win the Central, return to, and likely win the World Series this season. And they’d still have Tex next year to make a run in ’08 to then be the first team to repeat since the 2000 Yankees. That’s how good the Tigers could be, and that’s what’s on the table for them if they grab Teixeira.
So what do the Rangers get in return? A chance to climb out of the celler of MLB and the AL West – fast. More on that tomorrow…