It’s hard to argue with SF’s analysis of the would-be Pudge contract (note: it could go to an even-more-ludicrous 5 years, $50 million). You have to assume that the calculus here is aimed beyond on-field performance. The Tigers are not likely to capture lightning in a bottle with the addition of Pudge, as the Marlins did last year. That said, they do have a brand new and largely empty stadium that needs filling, and bringing him in is a signal to fans (in the cheap seats and the corporate suites) and business partners that there is some kind of commitment to winning on the part of the franchise. The alternative is a prolonged and potentially unrecoverable slide from public favor and financial stability (see the Brewers). But as you note, aging catchers are not necessarily the most sound strategic investment.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have acquired the rights to journeymen infielder Tyler Houston, which puts the current crop of 3rd base wannabes at: Cairo, Wilson, Almonte, Houston, and Henson (plus—thanks, for the offer, but no thanks—Gary Sheffield). ESPN’s Rob Neyer speculates that a trade might be in the offing for Adrian Beltre. We’ll be happy w/ a solid fielder who can move a runner now and then.