Mariners Insider Blog

WINTER MEETINGS 2008: Midafternoon update, Tigers officially announce Laird trade. Will Putz be headed there?

OK, right now Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland are up on the main podium discussing their trade for Rangers catcher Gerald Laird for two minor league pitching prospects. The news broke last night and former P-I writer Jon Paul Morosi had this story.

"He fills one of our biggest needs as we move forward," Dombrowski said.

Why is this important, well, the Tigers were able to address a major need without giving up too much in the way of players.

"It doesn't hurt that we didn't have to be in apposition to give up a couple guys that were in the upper level of the organization," Dombrowski said.

And now that next major need for Detroit? A closer.

"We're looking to improve our closer," Dombrowski said. "We're looking at people that are on the free agent market and in some trades.

Don't expect Detroit to get in a bidding war for free agent Francisco Rodriguez (the Mets appear to be bidding against themselves). But Brian Fuentes and Trevor Hoffman are also available in trades, but Dombrowski will certainly check in with the Mariners on the availability of one Mr. Joseph Jason "J.J." Putz.

Putz is a Michican native, born in Trenton, Mich., and pitched collegiately for the University of Michigan. Now this isn't like Jarrod Washburn, who would love to move back up north. Putz now resides in Arizona and really wants to stay with the M's. But Putz still loves the Wings, the Lions (sorry) and his alma mater, so being up there wouldn't be horrible for him.

With that being said, there should be some trepidation for the Mariners trading Putz right now. He is coming off of such an injury-plagued year that what Seattle could get for him right now in a trade is significantly less. His reputation is still good enough to command something good in return, but if he were to come back strong early this season and regain his 2007 form, his value around the trade deadline could be significantly higher. But he could also struggle again and have no value.

What would you do?

A few links ...

A few other notes, UW alum and Chicago Sun Times Cubs' writer Gordon Wittenmeyer mentions that in the Cubs' search for a right fielder includes Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez with Ibanez being manager Lou Piniella's preference.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting column on Alex Rodriguez's decision to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Talk about a guy that's searching for a personal identity.

Jamie Moyer is haggling with the Phillies over money.