By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
Today, we take on the question of the week, and of course it revolves around the trade deadline and the path the Tigers will take for their future.
The Tigers given where they stand in the race may look to be sellers this season, like it or not.
So, as you might have guessed, we have a lot to say about that.
With the Tigers rumored to be sellers this year, and given their performance to date, how should Tiger fans be feeling?
Holly – I would say “relieved” and “hopeful” because it would mean the Tigers have no intention of becoming the latest reincarnation of the Phillies.
There are different degrees of selling ranging from the full-out “fire sale” to “retooling” to “tweaking.” I think the Tigers are in that middle category where they need more than a couple of pieces. Obviously, most of that shopping list revolves around obtaining multiple starters and relievers.
But I will say that I thought something like this would happen this year. I didn’t anticipate the degree to which the starting pitching would collapse but I believed that Price and Cespedes would only be here for the year. Their salary demands would dictate they move to teams other than the Tigers.
I saw them as that Silly Putty that would hold things together for a year until the mortar, young outfielders like Collins and pitchers like Lobstein, Hardy and Farmer, matured.
When you look beyond the pitchers, this is a really talented team. Other than third base, the infield is solid and stellar. The outfield is better than last year and I think Collins, with that desperately needed left-handed bat, will do nicely in LF. There’s a lot of good stuff happening here!
But for all of this to work, the Tigers need to address the talent that doesn’t pick up the glove and bat. They need a fresh vision, new ideas and new names in the Front Office, as well as managing and coaching. If they don’t change that, and add people with energy and leadership, it won’t matter who they acquire or how much they spend. And that is another blog for another day.
But if the Tigers are smart, they will use Price, Cespedes, Avila, Simon and maybe even Soria and Davis as what they are right now – currency. Let’s hope the Tigers get the best possible exchange rate they can find to get the pitchers and start restocking the farm system.
And start the process right now, not next year, by giving the new pieces a chance to gel and gain experience. If done right, the team could easily be back in contention next year.
Kurt – Well, I think Tiger fans should feel disappointed and now maybe even a little concerned. If indeed the team becomes sellers and we have to say good-bye to guys like Price and Cespedes at the trade deadline, it will be the exclamation point on a wasted opportunity.
This is one of the more talented and athletic teams we have seen in Detroit in a long time, so we have indeed blown an opportunity. They shouldn’t be this bad. But the decisions made with the starting rotation have been failures. And things got worse with Verlander on the shelf early and Sanchez unable to keep the ball in the ballpark for the first couple months of the season.
Once again the bullpen, outside of Wilson arriving in the trade for Porcello, saw little improvement. Sure, Soria moved into the closer’s role, which everyone wanted, but the Tigers had little else, and no major moves were made in the spring to really impact the pen. Sorry, Joba.
Assuming they are sellers, things do still remain interesting as we appear to have a lame duck GM making decisions about our future. How good has Dave been at drafting?
Well, there have been several players we have drafted that looked good enough to other teams to trade for them allowing us to acquire big time additions at past trade deadlines. We won most of those trades didn’t we? Our “young guns” had few bullets when they reported to their new teams.
So how good will DD be at trading for good young talent? How motivated will he be as well considering his uncertain status as GM? Are we about to have the tables turned on us? Will it be our turn to get fleeced by other teams at the deadline? Who thought we would end up here? And who now wonders if we will come out the other end in better shape?