Monday, November 12, 2007

Detroit Tigers Acquire Outfielder Jacque Jones

The Detroit Tigers continued to fill their off-season needs on Monday, trading for outfielder Jacque Jones of the Chicago Cubs in exchange for utility infielder Omar Infante. The trade (first reported by The Detroit Free Press and later confirmed by my colleague Danny Knobler) gives the Tigers a much needed left-handed bat, a veteran outfielder who can play all three outfield positions, and somebody who is solid defensively. And all they gave away was a utility infielder manager Jim Leyland did not like very much anyway.

Now, I think Omar Infante will be a solid major league player as his career develops. He had his ups and downs in Detroit, and even though he's been in Detroit since 2002, we forget he's only 25-years-old. His best baseball is in front of him, but even with that said, he likely never was going to develop the way he needed to in Detroit, especially with Leyland always looking for his replacement (have it be Neifi Perez, Ramon Santiago, or Ryan Raburn).

Jones is a perfect one-year stop gap, with an acceptable salary ($5.5 million, of which the Cubs will pay a portion) who will form a nice platoon with Marcus Thames in left-field. While Jones had not hit less than 14 home runs in any season since his first (where he only played in 95 games), hit only 5 last season (after blasting 27 in 2006, tying his career high). He's a career .285 batter, and should fit in nicely in the #7 or #8 spot in the Tigers batting order. Essentially, he's Craig Monroe, but left-handed and with a higher batting average. Certainly will be fine until Cameron Maybin is ready to take over in 2009.

Now the attention of the Tigers turns to the bullpen, as re-signing Todd Jones, and perhaps acquiring another reliever take center stage. Should the Tigers do that, even with the injury to Joel Zumaya, things are looking up for the Tigers heading into the 2008 season.

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