The Brewers and Tigers didn't come together on a deal for J.J. Hardy, mainly because Doug Melvin didn't see them as a match, but is it possible they could still come together for a deal? Try this one on for size:
The Brewers desperately need starting pitching. At the same time, they're saving some money but losing some reliability by replacing Mike Cameron in center field with Carlos Gomez. Gomez is still young, strong defensively and has a lot of potential, but he's not really the type of player a contending team should be relying upon to contribute offensively.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are in the midst of significant financial issues. They spent over $115 million in 2009 despite declining attendance and an economic situation in Detroit that's bleak at best. They're likely to be looking to cut payroll, and they have a couple of players that could be of interest to the Brewers.
RHP Edwin Jackson. The Tigers are reportedly looking to move Jackson, who made $2.25 million in 2009 and is due for a significant raise in arbitration. He earned that raise this season, posting a 3.62 ERA in 214 innings of work, striking out 161 and appearing in his first All Star Game. Jackson will likely get $4.5-5 million in arbitration, still less than the Brewers would likely spend to acquire a lesser talent via free agency, and would still be under Brewer control for 2011.
CF Curtis Granderson. While his offensive production has backslid a bit over the last three seasons, Granderson is still one of the game's better center fielders, with a career .272/.344/.484 line. He's still just 28 years old, so he's not in the decline of his career yet, and should be a productive player for the length of his contract. Granderson probably wouldn't be available if not for his contract: he's due $23.75 million over the next three seasons, plus an option for 2013. With that said, the deal isn't as bad as you might think: Granderson is only due $5.5 million for 2010. He'll get raises each of the next two seasons, but the Brewers will also have money to spare, once Suppan, Hall and Riske's contracts are off the books.
3B Casey McGehee. The Tigers are also reportedly interested in unloading the contract of Brandon Inge, who is due $6.6 million in 2010. If they do decide to move Inge, they'll need a long-term solution for the position, and McGehee could be it. With one year of service time, McGehee would be under the Tigers' control for the next five seasons, and could be paid at or around the league minimum for 2010 and 2011.
(I considered putting Mat Gamel in this trade instead of McGehee, but I think six years of Gamel is significantly too much to trade for two years of Jackson. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong in the comments.)
CF Carlos Gomez. We've blasted Gomez a lot around here over the last few days, so it's probably not surprising that I'm advocating for unloading him. With that said, all the positive things that have been said about Gomez still apply: he's young, could improve, still under team control for several seasons and very good defensively. He's not as good as Granderson and perhaps never will be, but he's much less expensive: He'll qualify for arbitration this winter for the first time, but will still likely make less than $1.5 million.
Salary relief. If the Tigers also manage to unload Brandon Inge in another deal, they'll have cut $37.35 million in financial commitments, including $17.1 for 2010, and taken on less than $2 million.
What do you think?