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It seems as if it is getting more and more likely that the Tigers will place Magglio Ordonez on the trade block this offseason. They want to open up payroll so they can go out and fill a need or two via free agency. Their projected payroll if they keep everyone is about 125 million. They want to lower it to the 110 range. Magglio would have to go in that situation. He is set to make 15 million next year. They could probably stomach a 115 or 120 million payroll. So if they trade Magglio they still have 5 to 10 million to spend. One possible destination is to the Blue Jays for Scott Downs and a pitching prospect. Downs is the reliever they need. Marcus Thames could handle right field, but a platoon would be more helpful. They can sign David Eckstein for shortstop. A bargain-basement starter and a righty-mashing right fielder could also help. Maybe they sign Eric Hinske or Cliff Floyd. The starter they add could be a guy like Randy Wolf or Paul Byrd. Another possibility is to trade Ordonez to the Braves for Rafeal Soriano or Mike Gonzalez. One of them could be available if the Braves resign John Smoltz for the bullpen. Both are signed on one year deals. They could then do the same I stated above to fill their other holes. It would be tough for the Tigers to improve by trading away one of their best hitters, but it is possible if they can fill multiple holes with the money opened up.
The Atlanta Braves, a huge disappointment last season, need to decide whether to rebuild or retool this offseason. I lean toward rebuild, but with Bobby Cox, they probably will try to retool. They have a few needs. They have to get a left fielder, center fielder, starting pitcher, and reliever. They might have to look to fix center field from within with Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson stopgaping untill one of the center field prospects are ready. Left field could be given to Brandon Jones, but they think he needs more time. They can sign a guy in the Raul Ibanez, Garret Anderson, Jaun Rivera teir. If they want to spend a lot they could sign Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn. For pitching, I don’t think they have a chance at getting CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets, but could go after a solid #2 or #3. Jon Garland makes a lot of sense for this team. The bullpen also must be adressed. They should try hard to retain Will Ohman, although he should be tough to resign. If they decide to sell, Kelly Johnson, Mike Gonzalez, and Rafeal Soriano could be trade chips. Tim Hudson, also, when he returns from injury could be shopped at the trade deadline. So, the Braves could go either way, but they probably won’t be able to compete next year or build up a great farm system next year.