The Tigers, then, are likely placing their focus elsewhere. They have reportedly discussed Julio Lugo of the Red Sox and Jack Wilson of the Pirates in trade talks, and they have reportedly shown an interest in free agent Orlando Cabrera, late of the White Sox.
Wilson makes sense for the Tigers, from a contractual standpoint, because he could be a short-term solution until the Tigers are ready to hand the shortstop reins over to a prospect class headed by Cale Iorg. Wilson is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $7.25 million in '09 with an $8.4 million club option for 2010 or a $600,000 buyout.
Lugo is due to make $9 million in 2009, $9 million in 2010 and has a vesting option worth $9 million for 2011. But he is unlikely to reach the vesting option, which is based on plate appearances, because of the time he missed with a torn left quadriceps this year. For the Tigers to make room for Lugo, it has been reported that they would send either Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson to Boston. Willis will make $22 million over the next two years, and Robertson will make $17 million.
As far as free agency is concerned, the Tigers have not been linked to Rafael Furcal, the top shortstop on the market, because of the likely contract length and dollars he'll command.
It's difficult to discern how serious their interest is in Cabrera, because he, too, is looking for a lucrative, multi-year deal. The 34-year-old Cabrera hit .281 with eight homers, 33 doubles, 57 RBIs and 19 stolen bases as the White Sox leadoff man in '08.
While the Tigers don't have interest in bringing Edgar Renteria back, they are undoubtedly monitoring his situation. Renteria is a Type A free agent, meaning the Tigers would receive two early picks in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft if he signs with another club by Monday.
The Tigers can still lay claim to those Draft picks by offering Renteria arbitration by Monday. The team might go that route if it believes Renteria is intent on signing elsewhere. The Giants have been the team most closely linked to Renteria, but his agent denied a report earlier this week that a two-year deal had been signed with San Francisco.