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The Tigers will be buyers at the deadline

There’s a lot of talk about how rough it may be for teams going nowhere this year to unload talent and salary at the deadline, but according to owner Mike Illitch, the Tigers will be buying:

Ilitch has a first-place baseball team, and he said he would do whatever was necessary to ensure the Tigers remained in first place -- even if that meant adding more to an already inflated payroll.

“We’re going to do whatever we’ve got to do,” Ilitch said. “We’re three games in first. What are we going to do? There are a lot of things that we can do. We’re going to try to improve one way or the other.”

Despite all of the talk about Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers are in greater need of offense than pitching, as they have four solid starters but are second to last in the AL in runs per game. Still, their team ERA is only a bit above average too, which suggests that the Tigers could be in the market for any number of players. If Colorado thinks clearly and realizes that their mini-run, while nice, isn’t evidence that they’re true contenders, they may do well by dangling Jason Marquis and/or Brad Hawpe at the Tigers. Matt Holliday would be a pretty useful rental too, as would Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, or Aburey Huff.

Whatever they do -- as long as they avoid pitching Willis every fifth day -- the Tigers appear to be in good shape in a weak division, and that’s especially true now that it seems that their owner is willing to load for bear.