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The Detroit Tigers Desperately Need to Acquire an Upgrade at Catcher

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COMMENTARY | If you've happened to take a peek at any box score from a Detroit Tigers game in 2013, the obvious void in offensive production lies at catcher. Current starter Alex Avila is in a deep slump with an unforeseeable end, while career backup Brayan Pena doesn't appear to be suited for an everyday role at this point.

The Tigers can't wait much longer for help behind the plate with the Cleveland Indians looking more like a legitimate threat each day. A fresh face could be exactly what the team needs to spark their offensive towards consistency.

The solution that the Tigers are in search lies in the National League East.

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann is obviously the best offensive option behind the plate. He made his 2013 debut in early May after suffering from a shoulder injury. The 29-year-old didn't miss a beat in returning to his known offensive form. He's hit .282 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 39 at bats.

McCann is a free agent at the end of this season, and if the Braves view Evan Gattis as their catcher of the future after his historic emergence, a trade could be possible. McCann would quickly serve as the offensive star at catcher that the Tigers have been lacking since the days of Ivan Rodriguez.

If the Braves are unwilling to budge, look no further than the New York Mets.

After a sizzling start, Mets catcher John Buck has cooled down as of late, but still possesses the ability to be a difference maker at the position. His .224 batting average isn't anything to be wowed by, but his worth doesn't come in that form. Buck's value comes in the form of the long ball; his 10 homers and 31 RBIs through May 22 display just that.

Buck is a free agent after this season, and if he serves as a temporary rental, so be it, the Tigers need to make a change regardless. The Mets also have no need for his services beyond 2013, as prospect Travis d'Arnaud is expected to be ready to take the reigns as the team's future behind the plate.

Both catchers would be capable of immediately providing a well-needed difference in the Tigers lineup, if acquired. While McCann would be the favored choice, Buck could also benefit from hitting in an offense capable of being a juggernaut.

If the Tigers and owner Mike Illitch want to win a World Series this season, they need to field a complete team. An upgrade at catcher would be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Ricky Lindsay has followed the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball with a close eye from Metro Detroit for several years. He's a sportswriter for his college newspaper, The Michigan Journal, and broadcasts games for the Michigan Lightning, a semi-professional football team.

You can find him on Twitter @RLindz35.

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