By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
We are getting down to crunch time now and by the end of the week or sooner, we will find out what direction this franchise will be taking.
Buy or sell? It’s not a question this team has had to deal with in a while. It’s always been about buying, about adding a piece or 2 that could potentially take them over the top.
And boy is this different. But Dombrowski hasn’t changed a bit; he is holding his cards close to his vest as usual. So let’s tackle a couple more questions as we wait for the decisions that will shape the team’s future.
1. Is Dave being sincere when he claims to be on the fence about being buyers or sellers?
Kurt – Oh my gosh, it’s so classic Dombrowski. He is a master at keeping people all over the league guessing, which makes him one of the best GM’s in baseball.
It bothers me so much that he hasn’t been able to deliver a championship, because I believe he’s got one in him before he’s done in this game.
But buying or selling? Is he on the fence? Of course not. Not this late. He knows exactly what his strategy is and it’s just the names and the faces that need to fill in the blanks.
He will do his best to do right by this team. He always does at this time of year, and who knows, it may have enough of an impact on his owner, playoffs or not, to make Ilitch bring him back for another round of fun.
Holly – It would be really worrisome if he was. But ain’t that second wild card slot great for allowing teams who struggle in an attempt for a .500 record to dream – and to spin it for hopeful fans? The reality is, the Tigers have one winning month followed by 3 losing ones and the team isn’t going to magically turn around given even greater performance concerns.
No, Dave is very smart and I’ve got to believe that this is part of a complex strategy to get the highest return for any trades. His rationale may be three-fold:
1. Create increased desire and pressure on teams who really need key pieces by waiting until the applicant pool shrinks and thus your asking price goes up.
2. Wait until other teams trade for pitchers, like Cueto, to gauge what the going rate should be for Price and then set the trade requirements higher.
3. Marketing 101: Never let the fan base believe there is a reason for leaving or not tuning in by sticking to an official statement that the team is about to turn the corner.
This is likely to be a complicated process of both buying and selling. I wouldn’t expect the deals to be straight-forward ones, but rather trades that involve 3 teams, one of Dave’s specialties.
2. What kinds of players do the Tigers need to get back in return for trades?
Kurt – As much trust as I have in Dave at trade deadlines, my hope is that we will continue to build on all the good that has been brought to this team. We know about all the bad. We know all about how the moves made with the rotation have turned out.
But there were elements added to the Tigers that were sorely needed to allow them more opportunities to win. Speed and defense introduced a new dimension to Tiger baseball. Unfortunately, the issues with the pitching have cancelled out all of what was good about this team, which is a horrible shame.
So, DD needs to rebuild that rotation and acquire players that solidify what they have established in the areas of speed and defense. But above all, Dave knows deep down that the continued failures in developing a bullpen that can take over games has always been his downfall. As Tiger fans, we have always wondered when it would find the top of his list. Maybe this week?
Holly – The Tigers can’t trade away Price without getting another rotation-ready pitcher in return. In fact, they really do need at least 2 new hurlers. And I don’t need to tell anyone about the urgent need for multiple relievers. And if Soria leaves, they will need another closer.
Other needs will depend upon which Tigers will get traded. The Tigers are set at catcher but if Cespedes and Davis go, they’ll need at least one new outfielder and a call-up.
But they have to get at least one player, preferably two, with a left-handed bat.
And finally, the urgent need to restock the farm system. Cueto brought 3 players so Price could conceivably bring 4. If you add in trades for Simon, Soria, Avila, Davis and Cespedes, the Tigers could receive a possible 13 players split between Detroit and the minors.