By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
Today, we address the trade deadline, which has now finally and mercifully expired. The Tigers have made some deals and now it’s time to dig in and let our writers dissect what has taken place.
As is the norm, Kurt and Holly have not shared their responses to today’s topic. It’s the best way for our readers to get the best bang for their buck. So here we go.
What’s your take on what happened – or didn’t happen – now that the no-waiver trade deadline is over?
I tend to listen closely when Al Avila is being interviewed. He has had a reputation of being very transparent; disclosing more than you would think he would share as the GM of a MLB team.
So when he was interviewed following the expiration of the trade deadline, he shared. He is happy with what the Tigers received in the deals involving JD Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.
What I was looking for from Avila was a confirmation that they had reasonable success. And I sensed his message was genuine.
Al could not stress enough how devoid of talent the team’s minor league is when it comes to position players, but many people have been critical about how heavy the return was on shortstops and third basemen.
How close were they to trading JV? Well, in addressing the Verlander situation, Al once again shared something that I don’t know needed to be shared. JV is more of a candidate to be traded during the winter according to Al.
Please tell me Al – why do you insist on showing everyone your cards? It’s just not necessary. If he had conversations with teams about the potential for a JV deal after the season, fine, keep those irons in the fire. But why share it with us? Why share it with the media? We don’t need to know.
From what we are being told, there is no special magic associated with the retooling of the organization. This is about rebuilding a minor league system, at all positions.
In the world of fantasy baseball, I am always checking the minor league landscape for some of the better, head-turning talent about to emerge and head for the show, so you recognize the names when they do indeed emerge.
Did we get anyone like that or close to that? The answer is no, initial impressions have revealed there are none.
We offered up one of the most dangerous power hitters in the game, rental or not, in exchange for what appears to be average minor league talent.
We offered up the most sought after left-handed power pitcher who will fortify the back end of the Cubs’ bullpen. And we threw in a veteran catcher having a very good year. And who did we get?
Well, Al says we did very well. But frankly, I would rather know before he even said a word. I am not in the mood for someone trying to convince me.
I keep looking for Al Avila to develop a pattern in his thoughts and actions and today still didn’t show me enough consistency to get a clear read on the team’s intentions.
First he says he’s open to trading everyone and anyone but then doesn’t do anything last winter. Avila should have traded some players before this season to take advantage of their best value but didn’t. Then he poorly timed JD’s trade this month but did better with Wilson, yet waited too long on Avila.
To continue the pattern of non-pattern, so to speak, he did poorly with JD yet gets props for the Wilson/Avila trade.
Avila also said that they were not doing a salary dump, yet he actively attempted to trade JV, Upton, Sanchez, Zimmermann, Iggy and Kinsler both last winter and this month. However, reports say he wanted too much for each of them so it wasn’t a classic salary dump in which players are traded for the sake of being traded.
So, is Avila’s actions/non-actions based upon not being up to the task? Are he and Chris waiting on news that will impact which path they take? Or, are they purposely playing a game of non-disclosure? A combination of 2 or 3 of these?
It appears that some kind of tightrope is being walked. Wanting and needing to shed salary but not wanting to appear anxious. Wanting to trade more players but hesitating at pulling the trigger.
And this confusion about where the Tigers are headed with their roster adds fuel to their refusal to explain where this team is headed. Do they intend to stay competitive? Re-tool? Re-invent? Re-build? Your guess is as good as mine because no one is saying anything. Yet.
And I don’t expect them to say anything for months to come – if ever. Leave the fan base guessing – and hopeful so the seats continue to be filled.
What they’ve done – or haven’t done – is really open to interpretation which is what I believe they really want to accomplish in the long-term. And the reasons supporting it are multiple:
1. Attendance is still really strong and any attempt to mess with the formula will be avoided until as long and late as possible.
2. They are trying to minimize fan/social media blowback by focusing on making off-season actions.
3. As the Ilitch family awaits the IRS judgment – with some form of penalty expected to be paid – it may or may not determine whether they keep or sell the team.
4. If the timing of selling the team continues to be explored, they may be waiting until a suitor, the process, an announcement or the desired financial balance is achieved before they show their hand.
This year is one of transition and intrigue. We shouldn’t expect to know more until this winter.