It’s the end of the year, so that means it’s time for Top 10 Lists galore. So I thought I’d add to the list of lists with my take on the 2008 Detroit Tigers. Actually, this top-10 list — which I will reveal over the final 10 days of 2008 — is for the calendar year ’08 and, as you’ll see some are recent.
So here we go. My Top 10 Tigers stories of 2008. As always, feel free to weigh in.
#10 – Tigers trade for Gerald Laird
There are a lot of candidates for the number-10 spot on this list and few of them are what I’d call positive. So, let’s go with this one: On the eve of the Winter Meetings the Tigers acquired catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers for minor leaguer pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo.
Looking ahead to 2009, the bullpen and shortstop situations were troubling to Tigers fans, but help in these areas is more abundant than in the catching spot. In fact, most of the help at short and in the bully will be homegrown. And let’s face it, there was no way Dave Dombrowski was going to make Jim Leyland use an untested Dusty Ryan as his everyday catcher.
In addition to a solid reputation as a catch-and-throw guy, Laird is more than serviceable at the plate. Last year, Laird batted .276 for the Rangers with 24 doubles in 344 at-bats to go with six home runs and 41 RBIs. He hit .299 with a .759 OPS away from Texas.
With Laird secured, the Tigers could turn their attention to shortstop (the recently signed Adam Everett) and the bullpen…though we’re still waiting for that.
Though Pudge Rodriguez has moved on, the Tigers will, for the sixth-straight year, start a former Texas Ranger behind the dish on Opening Day.