August 22, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Fair or Foul: In wake of blockbuster, Tigers now lack a true center fielder

Tigers starter Rick Porcello is starting to boost his asking price when he hits free agency after next season. He could get $100 million or more. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)

Hey, Lynn Henning, Tom Gage here. Remember me?

Tom: I still read your stories. I also see you on Twitter, so when I begin to wonder if you actually exist anymore, there is substantial proof that you do. And thatís probably how you feel about me ó because it sure seems a long time since weíve been in the same press box.

I cover the games you donít, and you cover the games I donít ó and thatís often how it goes on a traveling beat, but Iíll be sure to come over and say hello next time I see you at home.

This week is typical of what Iím talking about. You were in Florida for the first half of the trip, I will be in Minneapolis for the last half, including (ugh) the day-night doubleheader Saturday.

Hereís a pertinent question for you, though. In St. Pete, how much did you see a Tigers team in need of a center fielder?

Lynn: Completely in need. Itís why they took a serious blow Friday when they lost Rusney Castillo to the Red Sox. Boston knew what it was doing. Castillo has the speed, power and defense you donít always find in a center fielder.

The Tigers knew this. Boston got the final, winning bid. Really bad break for Detroit.

Tom: Hereís another question that youíre in a better position to answer than I am ó because it was a development that took place in Florida this week.

Does Justin Verlander sound convincing about being ready to start Saturday?

Lynn: He should be right where heís been at any other point this season. Physically, heís fine. Does that lead to a quality start? Weíll see. But no issues, physically.

Tom: Now that heís thrown a one-hitter, can you envision David Price throwing a no-hitter for the Tigers? I have to say that I can ó some time probably next year, in fact. Would it be a reach to think that Price will be the next Tigersí pitcher to throw a no-hitter? If you say it would be, Iíd be surprised.

Lynn: Yes, agree. There have been perfect games thrown with less command than Price featured during that Thursday virtuoso. He has so many pitches ó all of them plus-pitches.

And, obviously, he throws precise strikes. That will normally get you a couple of serious no-hit bids. Agree that heís now the guy to bet on.

Tom: You know, weíve talked a lot this year about whether Max Scherzer will be back next season.

But how many more years will Rick Porcello be a Tiger?

Lynn: Definitely believe the Tigers will get him into a long-term deal. With his age and durability being so extraordinary, Porcello is a guy worth a long-term investment.

Hard to imagine he wonít stick with Detroit by way of a heavy extension.

Tom: OK, itís nearing the end of August and kids in Michigan will soon be returning to school. Were you a kid who looked forward to going back to school? I bet 14-year-old Lynn was the hit of history class with a memorized Gettysburg Address. Maybe even with top hat and beard.


Lynn: I was probably closer to Andrew Johnson ó Abeís successor who got impeached. I did indeed like history, as well as English, but my favorite class was journalism. Our high school newspaper was The Torch (smart alecks suggested thatís what it should be used for).

I was a sports writer my junior year, and Torch editor as a senior. So, you can blame it all on that experience.