Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Detroit Tigers

This week's trade between the Detroit Tigers and Florida Marlins has at least placed the Tigers on the same level as the Red Sox/Yankees, if not moved them above. While the price was steep, I think it was a fantastic trade for the Tigers. In return for some extremely great and close to major league ready talent, the Tigers received the best young hitter and an All-Star caliber pitcher. While I'm not necessarily sold on Dontrelle Willis, if he's your #4 starter then your rotation is in great shape.

I applaud the Tigers for making such a trade, which is apparently against the conventional wisdom now in MLB. In fact, I think most teams are too gunshy with their prospects these days. It probably stems from the 80s and 90s where teams made rash and short-sighted decisions. However, these mistakes usually involved trading a high prospect for a journeyman, such as Bagwell for Larry Anderson. The lesson should have been not to overspend for middling talent. Instead, the perceived lesson is not to get burned giving away young talent.

Maybe it's my experience as a Cubs fan that shapes my perspective. Their frugalness with top prospects has resulted in a lot of washed up players. If they just had the foresight to trade Mark Prior, Corey Patterson, etc. they might be in better shape. Instead their fear meant they got substantially less from their prospects, which is currently occurring with yesterday's crown jewels of Angel Guzman and Felix Pie.

I mean, what's the worst possible outcome for Tigers fans? Maybin becomes Cabrera and Miller becomes a better version of Willis. In that situation, you are slightly worse off than if you had not made the trade. And that's the worst case scenario. Given the rosters littered with former superstar prospects that never panned out, the odds are in your favor. It's for this reason why I do not understand the Yankees refusal to include Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes in a trade for Johan Santana. Again, the worst scenario is that Chamberlain or Hughes turns into the best pitcher in the game, which is Santana. Besides the age difference, you are not much worse off. I just think there is a huge opportunity for forward thinking GMs and/or teams to take advantage of this current thinking, much like it was when it was the opposite situation.

So I hope the Tigers dominate the AL Central next year and with their current team that seems likely. If the ultimate goal is to win a championship then the Tigers have gotten closer to that goal. There are no major weaknesses on that team. Who knows whether that would be the case in a few years from now when Maybin and Miller may be superstars.


*sports*baseball*MLB*Detroit*Tigers*Florida *Marlins *Cabrera*Dontrelle Willis *AL Central *World Series


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