The Tigers traded for Edgar Renteria. They’ll send the Braves Gorkys Hernandez and Jair Jurrjens.
I’ll have more on this later when I digest it, but wow. Renteria is a nice player and affordable, but the Tigers just traded 2 of their top 4 prospects for a shortstop on the wrong side of 30. This team just got a lot older.
Renteria of course has ties to Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland, and Dombrowski has shown a preference for the familiar. Renteria was signed as an amateur free agent in 1992 by Dave Dombrowski (I think Al Avila was a scout at the time, but not sure if he was the one who signed him). And of course Renteria was part of the 1997 Marlins team managed by Leyland.
UPDATE: It appears that the Braves are sending some cash to the Tigers. I find this odd, since the contract is fairly manageable with $9 million owed next year and an $11 million option for 2009. Are the Tigers going cheap now, saving money for another big free agent, inking Granderson/Verlander long term? Odd for cash to change hands in this one.
I continue to waffle on this trade. All along I liked picking up Renteria, but was having a hard time getting comfortable with the price. Granted Jurrjens was likely a 3 or 4 guy in a rotation, but since when did that designation carry an “only” with it? Especially for someone that comes cheap for the next 6 years. But that’s only half of the price.
The Tigers also shipped Gorkys Hernandez, their 2nd best positional prospect. A guy who held his own in the Midwest League at the age of 19. He’s someone with Granderson’s feel in the outfield with Cameron Maybin’s speed. Granted he doesn’t project with a ton of power, but for his age and the park he played in the .391 slugging doesn’t bother me.
Now I can try to balance with my natural fan tendency to overrate my own team’s players by drawing on the negatives in Jurrjens and Hernandez’s profiles. Gorkys needs to add some walks and some power, plus he shouldn’t be expected to contribute at the MLB level until 2010. Jurrjens has dealt with some neck issues each of the last 2 seasons. Maybe it’s a chronic thing?
And I can also justify it by looking at all the Tigers are adding.
So in the lineup the Tigers are essentially swapping Sean Casey for Renteria. I’m not too worried about Renteria’s one awful season in the AL. I don’t know if it was a Boston thing, or just a bad season. Either way at this point I’d call it coincidence.
Renteria is coming off the second best season of his career with an impressive .332/.390/.470 line good enough for a 125 OPS+. Since it was an exceptional year, maybe it makes sense to look at Renteria’s performance over the last 3 years which was 298/360/437 – still a nice line. It is 264 runs created and 5.9 runs created per 27 outs.
Sean Casey had 197 runs created over the same span, but battled some health issues so his RC 27 is 5.5. Now I used the quick and dirty TB*OBP calculation, so the difference is probably a little greater when you factor in Renteria’s 37 stolen bases (and 12 caught stealing) versus Casey’s 4 stolen bases and 3 caught stealings.
So the difference in offense between Casey and Renteria over 145 games is about 1 win.
Acquiring Renteria was necessitated by Carlos Guillen bottoming out defensively. He appeared to have decent range early in the year but various errors (botching routine plays, errant throws, bobbling the transfer) and knees that turned creaky later int he year torpedoed what range he had.
Ultimate Zone Rating data which was released in July had Guillen rated at -26 runs per 150 games. Edgar Renteria at the time was rated at -13 runs per 150 games. Of course Guillen would be a longshot to make it 150 games at short, but if he did the result would likely be worse than -26 runs. And in 2006 Renteria was +6, but in 2005 he was -14. So perhaps the -13 wasn’t a sign of a trend. The fans scouting report rated Renteria a 61 in 2007, but only a 53 in 2006 so I’m not sure where the truth lies. But for the sake of argument let’s use the partial season data rated at 150 games and call it 13 runs or a little more than a win.
So in terms of performance the Tigers have added 2 to 2.5 wins. For a team that is on the playoff bubble though that isn’t inconsequential. And Renteria comes with an affordable price tag with $12 million guaranteed over the next 2 years which could go to $20 million if the Tigers exercise a club option. Nate Silver has broken down the dollar implications of the deal and says both teams won in this trade.
Yay or Nay
A tentative yay. I like the acquisition but I don’t like the cost, but I’m not alone in that sentiment. I also agree with Lee who notes that this is a trade we could be talking about for years to come.
Other stuff to consider:
- This ends any A-Rod speculation before it barely got started. I was kind of looking forward to that. It also means that there will be no Jack Wilson speculation which I had my fill of this summer.
- The tigers do have some shortstop candidates in Danny Worth, Mike Hollimon, and Cale Iorg and at least one of the three should be ready by 2010.
- Renteria has the Carlos Guillen seal of approval so there shouldn’t be animosity about the position switch for Guillen.
- Maybe this means that the Tigers are happy with what they’ve seen from other outfield prospects like Deik Scram and Matt Joyce. They aren’t nearly as toolsy as as Hernandez but maybe there is more there than I’m seeing.