ONE TOPIC – TWO TAKES

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Fans continue to speculate how far the Tigers are willing to go with the remodeling of the team for 2017 and beyond. Dominating the news is the possibility that the Tigers will consider trading anyone and everyone in the efforts to reduce their payroll.

Holly and Kurt never share their answers to these topics before it’s time. And today is no different as the 2 of them consider the possibility of the Tigers trading their 2 biggest stars.


Should the Tigers trade Miggy and/or JV during this off-season? Or should they keep both?


HOLLY

When I was young, it was all about my devotion to players and I confess that I still haven’t resolved my lingering anger issues over the trade of Mickey Lolich. But now, I understand the importance, priority and power of money in the game when it comes to winning.

So I am very torn over this question and it truly is a Sophie’s Choice for me. JV and Miggy are two of my all-time favorite Tigers and I can’t imagine not watching them play wearing the Old English D but somewhat comforted that any trip to Cooperstown would eventually have them wearing that beloved hat.

So, either one leaving would also leave a hole in my heart. But if the Cardinals could say “buh-bye” to Albert Pujols, this could be reality, too, especially if the Tigers are unable to trade enough of the other players in order to meet the desired payroll.

This brings up the questions:
– Do we pick the players over the team?
– How much will their contracts in the next couple years hold the team back from winning?
– How much longer are we willing to wait for a World Series opportunity?
– How much will we regret keeping them and how much animosity will we eventually feel towards them as they decline in performance due to age?

JV has the more palatable contract with $84 million dollars for the next 3 years and ends at age 37. But by the time Miggy’s contract is over, he’ll have been paid half a billion dollars just by the Tigers. They still owe him another $212 million that takes him through age 40 with yet another 2 years of options and an $8 million dollar buyout. Add in the incentives and he becomes 1 of 2 most expensive players in baseball history. And his advancing age will have him in the limited capacity as DH most likely within a couple of years.

Yet these guys are the 2 faces of the franchise so how can you trade them and not seriously impact attendance?

JV would be the easier one to trade given his salary, recent performance and the lack of viable starting pitching in the free agent market – combined with the fact that he appears every 5 days instead of daily. But Miggy’s contract can cripple the team through at least 2023.

I guess I need to decide whether it’s better to cry this year or wait until 2020 and beyond to start the tears.


KURT

Holy All-Stars, Batman! Are you kidding me? Trade Miggy? Trade JV? The immediate response from your heart is heck no, these guys can’t go anywhere; they are the face of the Tigers! So I could certainly stop all the shenanigans and say keep both and call it a day.

But the Tigers have gotten themselves into this mess and may have to make some tough and unpopular calls in regards to getting this franchise on a more fiscally responsible path.

So what do you do, shuttle player after player out the door until you only have a shell of a team or do you take one giant leap that can get you the most bang for your buck?

Trading Cabrera would be a public relations nightmare. He is the one player who keeps the turnstiles spinnin’. Miggy will someday have his number retired and a statue built at Comerica Park; and that will happen sometime before he dies at least. You know how the Tigers jump on those things.

Anyway, you are not trading both of these guys, but there is some merit to swallowing hard and considering a deal that involves JV. I can’t help but be reminded of the caliber of pitching they received when they had no choice but to move Price and Cespedes.

Verlander, at $28M a year, in one fell swoop, should get you another high-caliber arm not unlike what they received in those 2 deals, and he would command a franchise’s top pitching prospect.

Two years ago, this may not be as hard, but now that JV is showing the dominance again that we have all grown to love, fans would be marching with torches down the streets of Detroit in protest if he were shipped out of here.

But if you can get significantly healthier by moving 1 player who goes out on the field every 5th day, JV is that one player. It would sadden me to no end, but if we have to do this, this could be the smartest and quickest way to go.

JV has won everything in this league accept the big enchilada. And as horrible as it would be to have to see him leave, I believe he would welcome the opportunity to go somewhere else if it meant he had a better shot at that ring.

11 thoughts on “ONE TOPIC – TWO TAKES

  1. Hate to lose JV, and maybe Miggy could/should stay on for all of the P.R. reasons mentioned. Overpaying Upton, V Martinez, and Zimmerman is why we find ourselves in this mess. Some sort of package of one of our young pitchers and any or all of the three should solve problem. Eat some salary and we still come out ahead.

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  2. I have no idea of all the details of contracts, but wouldn’t it be enough to unload Kinsler and JD, if not J-UP, instead of JV and Miggy? Eat 1/2 Sanchez’s salary and it’s another 8mil saving. Ask VMart to start coaching in the minors and check what can be taken off his salary, it would help him retire as a good ball player and just not a heavyweight bag.

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  3. I first experienced pro sports trade and Payroll shaving heartache when Tigers traded Kirk for Colavoto. It is now clear why the Illitches went with AA. Dirty work lay ahead. I maintain Tigers could have had a legitimate shot in 17. Don’t agree with “all out” fire sale approach either.

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  4. Trade Miggy. I am tired of him and his acting like a bored little kid in the dugout. Not to mention his yukking it up on the field. I don’t think he likes playing for Brad and his actions show it.

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  5. The problems are Upton and Zimmerman. They already cut Maybin’s $9M and are due to cut $33M with Sanchez, Pelfrey, Lowe, & Krod after 2017. Unless Upton can be traded or opts out, they will lose JD after 2017, further reducing salary. Therefore, if they can work a deal to move Upton or Zimmerman, do it.

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  6. The organization has reached an impasse. No matter which way they choose to blow up the fiscal wall, it’s the fans who will absorb the shock waves. The cure seems worse than the disease when we think with our hearts. Holly’s questions help to put things in the proper perspective.

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  7. Thanks Holly and Kurt for balanced, thoughtful takes on a sensitive subject. The only consideration you don’t mention is that the Tigers should not be quick to assume the young prospect return they got for Price and Cespedes will be repeated in future unloading. There was a lot of luck.

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    • Hi, Vincent – You ask a good question and certainly info we wanted to include, but we have imposed response limits that prevent us from covering all the issues. But this topic will certainly be covered, more indepth, in the near future when we have the opportunity to write more. Thanks for continuing the conversation! – Holly

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  8. I would keep JV. 3 rookies performed very well this season, but odds are at least 1 will have a sophomore slump. I don’t trust JZimm to be healthy all year. As great as Miggy is, he’s peaked and his contract is too big & too long. Get something for him before fades too much. Could Moya play 1B? LHE ’81!

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  9. The Tigers need to go all in at this point, otherwise why give Maybin away for nothing. Sell…Sell….Sell……Unload everyone even if they need to pay part of salaries to do so. Will they actually do this, I severely doubt it.

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  10. In this modern era management is smart if they can construct contracts in such a way as to be able to offload them before they terminate. Illich didn’t do this with JV and MC especially, making a rebuild difficult. The days of fan favorites playing their entire careers with one team are loooong gone.

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