The Friday Night Rumor Mill–August 18, 2006

The shoulder separation to Detroit’s Placido Polanco may shelve him for the entire season, leaving the Tigers weakened at a key position in the postseason. An exceptional defender, Polanco has played at a Gold Glove level this season, making this a significant loss. While the Tigers can probably make the playoffs without Polanco, they’d like to strengthen the position for the Division Series and beyond. The Tigers are already making inquiries about several keystoners, including the Giants’ Ray Durham and the Royals’ Mark Grudzielanek. (Grudzielanek now carries a higher price tag, though, having just signed a two-year extension worth $8 million.) They also have interest in Washington’s Jose Vidro, who is the best second baseman theoretically available but might not be able to slip through the waiver process. Then there’s the problem with Vidro’s health; he’s currently on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. If healthy, the switch-hitting Vidro would be a terrific fit for the Tigers; not only would he fill the second base hole, but he’d also give Detroit a much stronger presence from the left side of the plate. It’s an area that continues to plague the Tigers and one that was not adequately addressed with the acquisition of Sean Casey before the July 31st deadline… Durham would be a solid pickup, too. He’s injury prone and doesn’t have much range, but he bats left-handed and has surprised observers in San Francisco with 19 home runs. If the Giants feel they’re done in the NL West, they’ll likely be willing to let Durham go cheaply…

Now that Shawn Green has cleared waivers, one obstacle has been cleared in the Mets’ attempt to acquire him from the Diamondbacks. The next obstacle may be tougher, though. Green still has to give his approval to any deal that doesn’t send him to the Angels, Padres, or Giants. Some have theorized that Green will give the go-ahead because of his friendship with Carlos Delgado, but I suspect the Mets may have to kick in some kind of financial incentive. The compensation price tag on Green won’t he high; the D-Backs would settle for a Grade-C prospect in order to clear out space for Carlos Quentin…

Let’s give some credit to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. He took some heavy Boston heat for failing to make a trade before July 31, but has made two good acquisitions since then while giving up little in return. Javier Lopez has yet to pay immediate dividends, but does give the Sox a quality backup to Doug Mirabelli, while Eric Hinske will—at the very least—provide an ample left-handed bat off the bench in the late innings. (Hinske, who has the highest slugging percentage of his career, could also be used in a platoon with Wily Mo Pena in right field.) Even with Hinske and Lopez providing depth, Epstein will continue to be aggressive in making waiver claims and seeking trades, especially for help in his pencil-thin bullpen…


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