COMMENTARY | With the trade deadline just a little more than three weeks away, the Detroit Tigers should be in the market for a couple pieces as they make a run toward another World Series. No team is perfect and can always be upgraded in some way.
With that in mind, here are the top three needs the Tigers should address by the trade deadline:
This comes as no surprise to anyone following the Tigers this season. Aside from former setup man turned closer Joaquin Benoit and lefty Drew Smyly, no one in the Tigers' bullpen has shown any consistency this season.
The Tigers recalled young Bruce Rondon already in hopes he can help solve the issue, but general manager Dave Dombrowski needs to look outside the organization to find another reliable arm in the pen.
Luckily, middle relievers won't cost Dombrowski any of his top prospects in a trade scenario. If he plays his cards right, Dombrowski could land a solid middle-innings pitcher without shipping away the future of the franchise.
The Tigers can't steal bases. They haven't been able to for the last 10 years. Now is the time for Dombrowski to help manager Jim Leyland and go get someone Leyland can call on late in games to steal a bag if needed.
As it stands now, Austin Jackson is the only man on the roster who can steal bases at a respectable clip, and even he is only good for 20 or so a season. Playoff baseball is usually tightly contested, and it would be nice for Leyland to be able to turn to someone other than Don Kelly to pinch-run late in games.
A player of interest for the Tigers could be Miami Marlins speedster Juan Pierre, who has already swiped 18 bags this season in limited action. Even better, he plays for the Marlins, who hold another player who can help the Tigers -- which leads us to the final need.
It might seem strange to think that a team with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder needs another big bat, but the Tigers do. Once pitchers get past Cabrera and Fielder, there isn't much of a power presence in the lineup.
Enter Giancarlo Stanton.
The Marlins have been coy about whether or not they will trade their slugger, but they have a history of moving young talent for the right price. Remember, this is the team that traded Cabrera to Detroit. The Tigers could offer three or four valuable prospects to Miami in exchange for Stanton and see if they bite. Maybe Miami would throw in Pierre and help the Tigers in two areas.
Stanton has expressed his displeasure with the Marlins after they traded away most of their talent pool last offseason.
While that deal may be a stretch, Detroit can also look toward picking up an outfielder with some pop in his bat for the final playoff push.
The Tigers have holes just like every other team. While making a splash by landing Stanton would be nice, even a couple smaller moves will go a long way toward improving the roster.
Matt Durr is a reporter from Michigan who has followed the Detroit Tigers his entire life. He has covered University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University athletics for Annarbor.com. Follow him on twitter @mdurr84.
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