With both the Winter Meetings coming up next week, and the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players Friday, the trade rumors have begun to circulate at a high level. One such player that has come up in the rumor mill lately is Detroit Tigers left fielder Brennan Boesch, who the Tigers may not tender a contract to, making him a free agent. Presently, Boesch is expected to receive just over $2Million through arbitration, he may not cost a lot either in a trade or via free agency.
Yet, Boesch has had a bit of success in the majors. In 2011, he produced a .283/.341/.799 slash line, to go along with 25 doubles and 16 home runs in only 472 plate appearances However, he slumped in 2012, batting at only a .240/.286/.372 rate with 22 doubles and 12 home runs despite having 31 more plate appearances. However, the biggest cause for concern may be the decrease in walks, as his walk rate dropped from 7.4% in 2011 to 5.2% in 2012 while his strikeout rate increased from 17.6% in 2011 to 20.7% in 2012.
Boesch’s decline in 2012 may actually have been an aberration. He had his moments where he played well, such as the month of July when he batted .295/.329/.538 with 7 doubles, 4 home runs, and 17 RBIs, yet he was unable to sustain that success throughout the rest of the season. However, it was thought that he may have been dealing with the lingering effects of a torn thumb ligament that he had initially suffered in August of 2011, which may have contributed to his down season.
Meanwhile, the Rays will likely have several holes to fill in the outfield and in the lineup. Boesch, who has played both left and right field over his career, could help the Rays to fill out their outfield. Signing Boesch could move Desmond Jennings to center, while Matt Joyce could play right. Meanwhile, he could potentially provide another bat in the middle of the lineup, helping to provide punch to a lineup that desperately needed help last season.
The price to acquire Boesch likely would not be much. As the Tigers may not even offer him arbitration, a trade for Boesch likely would not involve much of consequence. The Tigers also have Quintin Berry, whose play down the stretch was sufficient to leave Boesch off the postseason roster. Should he not be tendered a contract and become a free agent, a two year deal at roughly $5Million total may be enough to secure his services, particularly in lieu of what he is expected to receive should he go to arbitration. For that cost, he would fit the profile of a low risk, high reward player that the Rays love to acquire. Brennan Boesch could fill a major need for the Rays, and the potential cost is right for them to consider bringing him aboard.