Detroit Tigers Rumor Roundup: Joe Nathan and Left Field Possibilities


Rounding up Detroit Tigers rumors including the pursuit of former closer Joe Nathan, whether Yoenis Cespedes is being targeted, and the White Sox trading for Brett Lawrie.

Tigers Meet With Joe Nathan

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted last night that the Detroit Tigers were one of eight teams to check in with rehabbing relief pitcher Joe Nathan during the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

It had been previously speculated that the Tigers could look to bring Nathan back on a minor league contract, but now we hear an actual report of the Tigers showing interest in bringing the maligned former closer back to the organization.

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It’s difficult to say what will happen with so many teams apparently involved, but a minor league contract (or even a small major league guarantee) would be a low-risk move with a high potential reward.

Nathan is now 41 years old and will be coming off Tommy John surgery, but it’s not out of the question that he could put together a strong four months out of the bullpen as a setup man.

Brett Lawrie Traded to White Sox

It was reported earlier this week that the Tigers were one of several teams to express interest in trading for Brett Lawrie, an infielder who was with the Oakland Athletics.

It was always an odd fit — considering the Tigers already have Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos filling Lawrie’s primary positions — but now we know that particular trade will not happen as the Chicago White Sox acquired Lawrie yesterday.

But even with this specific trade not materializing it remains interesting to note that the Tigers might be interested in upgrading the third base position.

Is Yoenis Cespedes Being Pursued by Club?

There’s some disagreement surrounding the Tigers’ current interest level in left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Local writers insist Detroit is not pursuing Cespedes, but there have been a couple of national reports saying the Tigers have been in the hunt.

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Here’s Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting that the Tigers are one of the main teams in the hunt.

"The Angels, Giants and Tigers have been expected to bid aggressively for corner outfielders. But the fourth club is a shock – the World Series champion Royals."

With the current payroll already reaching franchise record highs, and possibly already pushing them into the luxury tax, it seems unlikely that they would be willing and able to pony up for another contract in the $20 million per year range.

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But owner Mike Ilitch has claimed that money is not an object for him right now, so perhaps the Detroit Tigers will make another big free agency splash yet this offseason.