According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals have recently discussed a trade that would send infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn to St. Louis, according to one person in the industry with knowledge of the talks.
Raburn, a right-handed hitter has been battling for one of the final spots on Detroit's Opening Day roster. Leading the team with 24 games played this spring, he is hitting just .185 (10-for-54), with an on-base-percentage of .270, as left-handed-prospect Jeff Larish has appeared to move ahead of him in the competition.
Raburn, who turns 28 this month, was drafted twice in a three year span, first by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999 (18th round), then again by the Tigers in the 5th round of the 2001 draft. A career .255 hitter in 153 major league games, Raburn has played five different positions in the majors, including all three outfield positions, in addition to second and third base – with his versatility making him an ideal player for a Tony La Russa managed team.
Raburn made the Tigers Opening Day roster out of Spring Training in 2008, marking the first time he has appeared on an Opening Day roster at the major league level. La Russa's best friend, Tigers manager Jim Leyland, often employed Raburn as a late-innings defensive replacement in the outfield or as a pinch runner. Raburn displayed his versatility for the Tigers, seeing action at five positions for the club: second base (16 games), third base (18 games), left field (30 games), center field (six games) and right field (22 games).
In 92 games, 182 at-bats for the Tigers last season, Raburn hit .236/.298/.368 with four home runs and 20 RBIs, while making eight errors combined in 34 games while playing in the infield, including 12 starts at second and eight at third. His lack of production at the plate and defensive miscues on the infield doesn't wouldn't seem to make him an attractive trade target for the Cardinals.
The Tigers would like to get a pitching prospect in return for Raburn and Leyland's close relationship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa could assist the clubs in working on a potential deal, that doesn't make much sense from a Cardinals prospective, unless a deal can be made for a second tier pitching prospect in the lower minor league level.
The Tigers still have 31 players in spring training camp, barring a trade; Raburn is expected to be assigned to Triple-A later this week.
© 2009 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.