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It doesn’t add up

The Curtis Granderson trade hasn’t set well with me from the outset. I’ve taken some time to mull everything over and look at it a number of ways. I think I’ve moved past the emotional component. I’ve taken a look back at the new Tigers and the return is OK. But therein lies the problem. The return was just OK in my view. An OK return isn’t enough to trade a player that didn’t have to be traded. It just doesn’t add up.

I know I’m not alone in this. Other Tigers bloggers who I respect for their thoughtful and analytic approach are still struggling with it as well. Like them, it is with the chronology of the deal that doesn’t make sense.

Joel Sherman first reported that the Tigers told the Diamondbacks that Max Scherzer wasn’t enough for Edwin Jackson which is how Daniel Schlereth came to be in the deal which is how the Yankees came into the deal.

I understand trying to maximize the trade value for Jackson, but wouldn’t a straight Scherzer for Jackson trade have accomplished the Tigers mission. They would have realized a net savings of $3-$4 million for 2010 while netting an additional 3 years of club control while not taking a step back on the field. Why not make that trade, forego Schlereth and keep Granderson on the team?

Perhaps Dombrowski shares the Diamondbacks concern that Scherzer can’t stay in the rotation because of violent delivery. If that’s the case the trade looks much less appealing right at the outset.

Or maybe the financial situation is much more dire than I project it to be? That is certainly a possibility, but the difference between Jackson and Granderson on the payroll in 2010 is $5 million. It isn’t an insignificant number but giving up Granderson doesn’t seem like the best option to save $5 million. Gerald Laird and Bobby Seay will combine to make more than that in 2010. Not to mention the fact that the payroll crunch is over after 2010.

I’m just not buying it.

I understand the Tigers limited resources this year, both in terms of budgets and in attractive assets and that some difficult moves may need to be made. If the Tigers had been bowled over with an offer I would get behind it. That wasn’t the case though. Reports are that the Tigers compromised their demands to let the deal happen. It was almost as if the team HAD to trade Granderson.

What if Dombrowski asked for Scherleth just to force the Yankees into the deal to unload Granderson? The Yankees would probably put together the best package due to the presence of Austin Jackson and the ability for the team to sell it to fans that Jackson could step right in next year.

The question still becomes why? Why would Granderson have to be unloaded and quickly? There has never been even a hint of any sort of character issue and Zach Miner spoke about how the club would miss his leadership. Not to mention the fact the club seems content with Miguel Cabrera’s transgressions the final weekend of the season.

It’s all speculation at this point, but with so little making sense right now that’s what we’re left with.What I do know is that for the first time since the 2002 I’m not looking forward to the coming baseball season with hopeful anticipation.

Posted by on December 12, 2009.

Tags: , ,

Categories: Trades, Winter Meetings

63 Responses

  1. I think the reports on the sequence of the trade are off. They are too inconsistent to make any sense from DD’s viewpoint. I’ll put my faith in DD doing things right and not a bunch of beat reporters from various teams putting things together in a single coherent story.

    by Andrew on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:07 pm

  2. I don’t have the heartbreak that most have over this trade. Grandy was great, no doubt. But he had some fatal flaws that made banking on a repeat of ’06-07 risky. He also surpassed Higgy levels of local hero-worship (and was going to be paid like it).

    It is an enormous risk, but I think this has a good chance of being seen as a ‘sell high’ in a few years. Given that economics was going to force moves — and given the only other attractive Veteran players, Cabrera and Verlander, are both untouchable for different reasons (damaged value, frontline ace) — I like this over alternatives.

    by Ian on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

  3. this isn’t trying to be sarcastic or know-it-all, but is it possible that dd honestly believes granderson is over-valued? maybe because of the respect he has for curtis he wouldn’t come out and say it, but dd said early any trade would be for baseball reasons. maybe he simply thinks curtis has topped out what he will be as a player, and decided to sell high? if that’s the case, the $ and timeline aren’t as much of a factor in the 1st place.

    by c baker on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

  4. I have reached the very same conclusion. When I first read Lynn Henning’s speculation about the trade, I assumed that DD was trying to fill position player holes that could not be addressed internally, ie SS. I was shocked to see that the only position player hole filled was the one created by the trade itself!

    The only was this makes any sense is if DD assumes three things: 1. Granderson didn’t just have an off-year, but is in serious decline; 2. That an emerging Jackson will surpass a declining Granderson as a CF in the near future; and 3. Coke becomes a legitimate mid-rotation starter.

    Finally, what really bothers me about this trade is that it lays bare the failure of DD’s strategy of focusing the draft on pitching. It galls me that the team is trading the best position player it has developed in this decade for still more pitching! What good is all that pitching if your team can’t score any runs?

    If DD wants to be around past 2011, we’d better see some serious offense emerging from Sizemore, Jackson, Avila, Strieby,Wells, et al in the next two years.

    by Spike on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm

  5. I don’t view it as being a know it all. That is certainly possible. They have more information than we’ll ever have, and for that reason I usually afford them the benefit of the doubt. But from where I’m sitting I can’t put the pieces together to where this makes enough sense.

    by billfer on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:40 pm

  6. I think this was a sell high move with both players. I am very excited to see what the new guys bring to the table this year. I have heard a lot of belly-aching about how this team will be horrible and not as good as the 2009 team. I think that the pitching is better, and the 2010 team has the potential to be better than last year. The way Grandy and Polanco played last year showed that they are replaceable. I think that EJ pitched over his head for the most part and Max will be better in 2010 and beyond.

    by Walt on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  7. Bill,
    I still think the point I raised on Twitter the other day is valid. I think you’ve blogged that the Tigers payroll in 2010 will be around $110 million, and obviously will drop to around half that in 2011.

    What I’m saying is this, what if the Tigers ultimate objective is to keep their payroll under $100 million, say around $90, how can they possibly keep Miggy and Verlander? Miggy is already making $20m and it’s going to take that much or close to sign Verlander long term.

    The moves the Tigers have made are all payroll related, IMO. I think we can expect either Verlander or Miggy to be traded in the not too distant future. I don’t think the Tigers can maintain a $120 million payroll, they’ve realized and making moves accordingly.

    From a baseball point of view, you’re right. The trade didn’t make sense. But the trade was about economics, not baseball.

    by Scott on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm

  8. Its difficult to figure out the details of how the trade went down and all the thinking involved. I won’t even guess other than to say there’s a lot of information we don’t have.

    As for WHY the deal happened. From the macro level it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t seem very complicated.

    This team HAD to change. Not just in the rotation but in the lineup. DD knew Polanco and Rodney probably weren’t coming back. Returning with the same team that failed last season, minus a few key pieces, just isn’t an option. The fans needed a change and the team needed it. DD realized he couldn’t keep signing free agents with pizza money. 2010 is just a year that has to be slogged through.

    There really weren’t many options to deliver the change. With mostly overpaid vets or cheap youngsters or franchise players (JV & MC), EJax and Granderson were the most attractive chips. They’re both flawed players who may have already peaked. They were both named “all-stars” and are highly marketable to GMs.

    So, what DD did was completely rational. Sell high. Add young talent. See what happens in 2010 but start adding pieces for 2011 when the roster will see a major overhaul.

    I keep going back to Stackhouse for Hamilton. In my mind this is DD’s attempt to do something similar. The question is – did he get enough in return? No one knows the answer to that yet.

    by Mat on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

  9. i’m not saying payroll has nothing to do with it, i just think it was certainly not the ONLY factor, and i don’t even think the biggest factor. grandy $$ didn’t significantly jump til after all the bad money was gone, if i’m thinking right. if they really felt he was the guy for the foreseeable future, i would think they could have afforded him this year, and his raise and the payroll reduction would cancel eachother out after that. my only problem with the trade, and it’s probably obvious that i actually kind of like it over all, is not getting one more bat. but if coke turns into a good 4 or 5, all the better.

    by c baker on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm

  10. Follow the Money.
    A boatload of bad contracts coupled with some bad/expensive trades over the last three years had put the Tigers in the position of a team that was financially overextended, fielding a $130 million .500 team (81-82 pathagorean last year) and a gutted farm system (ranked in the lower 3rd). The Great Recession is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, but let’s face it, as constructed this team wasn’t going anywhere anyway; remember, despite going to the Series in ’06 they still haven’t won a division title since 1987. As Leyland would say “We haven’t done anything yet”.

    2010 is a rebuilding year, they’re just not admitting that. Granderson and Jackson were the two players they could trade and get anything close to fair value for. With Inge, Bonderman, Robertson, etc., they would actually have to pay another team to take them. With delusions of grandeur and spending like a drunken sailor, MI and DD have gotten this organization into the mess is it in. The “program” hasn’t worked. Perhaps they have learned their lesson and are pulling away from that. Do they have a new direction in mind? Is it too late? Stay tunes sports fans.

    by Vince in MN on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:08 pm

  11. If we want to know why the trade was made, perhaps we should be asking Lynn Henning. As much as I dislike his articles, the fact that his outlandish claims come up to the surface may mean he has a direct line to DD and Illitch and they let him know what they are thinking. From a management standpoint, it makes a lot of sense to do that. Pick one reporter, feed him non-public information, and see how the fan-base reacts. Of course, nobody reacted well when Henning first suggested a Grandreson trade was possible. But he laid it all out there and I doubt it was a result of his thorough understanding of the idiosyncrasies of baseball.

    by jestem on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

  12. My feeling of the situation is that the discussion of money (in respects to Granderson) is just a diversion. If Granderson, as a ball player and not a person, has the innate value that pretty much all of us feel he does, then the amount of money he would be due is not outlandish. With all the rest of the money coming off the books, it is even more fiscally acceptable.

    I think the cause of the confusion comes down to that either DD or Illitch, or both, didn’t see Granderson as the best path forward. Until they make public their reasons (with more detail than “it is best for the tea”), which is not likely to happen in the near future, we’ll never really grasp the impetus for the trade.

    by jestem on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

  13. While agreeing with many of the sentiments expressed – and personally disappointed as Curtis was one of my favorites – but I wonder if the Tigers had run out of patience with Curtis in that they didn’t want to get stuck with another “Inge” or Higgy: a fan favorite who never corrected his fatal flaws.

    There’s only so many strikeouts that can be tolerated and only so much patience one can have, in hoping that Granderson figures out LH pitching, before one has to either PAY the man (backloaded contract) or move on. I’d be pretty certain that Brandon is on his way out next season unless he takes a significant pay cut and that the Tigers will continue to focus on pitching, while looking for guys who can get on base consistently for Miggy.

    Ultimately, I think the Tigers may have calculated that the chances were greater in getting “stuck” with him versus him figuring it out and developing further.

    by rings on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm

  14. My three questions are:

    1) Was saving $9-10M make-or-break for the Tigers in 2010? I honestly can’t see how they simply had to save the money or else.

    2) How does this trade plug the holes the organization had? It still lacks for quality position players all over the place.

    3) In 2011 when there should be plenty of available money to spend on free agents, who are those free agents who are going to step in and make that big a difference?

    by Kurt on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:36 pm

  15. Hey, if you’re right we should expect DD to run for Congress soon.

    by Mark L on Dec 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm

  16. 1. By that logic, they could have just added $9-$10M….it wouldn’t have made or broken them. But if you don’t think you have a team that will win in 2010, you might as well make it easier on yourself in 2011. Personally, I think they are setting up for a significant reduction in long-term payroll rather than saving $5-$10M this year. They are not a big market team any longer.

    2. The organizational philosophy is young pitching, and then do what you need to do to acquire hitting. You are right, this doesn’t fill the positional holes, which tells me they are focusing long term instead of this year.

    3. Impossible to say right now. Hopefully by that time, one of the new players will as productive as Granderson, and that will be the de facto FA signing.

    by the fume on Dec 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm

  17. I’m not so certain Dombrowski deserves that benefit of the doubt considering the bad deals he’s given out, and that we were only in a playoff race this year due to being in one of/the worst division in baseball.

    by Mike Rogers on Dec 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm

  18. Personally, I can’t believe Sherman’s version 100%. It’s certainly possible it went down that way, but to believe so, you would have to believe that particular report and ignore several others that contrasted it…..and logically I don’t see how you do that.

    Monday? night, the word was the DBacks were pushing for a trade while the Yankees and then the Tigers were not satisfied. That rumor was Tigers getting Dunn from the Yankees instead of Schlereth from the DBacks. It makes perfect sense to me then that on Tuesday the the Tigers getting Schlereth over Dunn would sastify them, the Yankees keeping Dunn would sastify them, and the DBacks liked the deal enough that giving up Schlereth wouldn’t sour it for them.

    I certainly would have loved to have gotten Scherzer and kept Granderson, but I’m skeptical as to whether that was possible, and I can’t judge something based on rumor, I need to judge on what actually is actually verifiable. So I have to judge the entire deal, and while I think the Yankees got a steal, I think the Tigers didn’t hurt themselves. (Granderson is a tough cat to read, hard to say if he’s on the downside or if last year was a fluke.)

    by the fume on Dec 12, 2009 at 4:51 pm

  19. I’m with you Billfer. I don’t have a problem with the players that were acquired. However, I don’t think the trade adds a great deal of financial relief or addreses organizational needs. I’d feel better about the deal if they received more help at positions of need. I thought their overall philosophy was to draft and develop pitchers and then trade some of them for position players. Instead, they have downgraded the one position where they actually developed a good player and added more pitchers.

    Lee

    by Lee Panas on Dec 12, 2009 at 4:53 pm

  20. That doesn’t make a lot of sense either, unless you think they’d actually trade Verlander because of a one year salary crunch. I mean, it’s not like Ilitch is going to go bankrupt because he’s paying 10 million or even 20 million more this year than he’d ideally want to. He has the resources to navigate one year of excess salary.

    by stormhit on Dec 12, 2009 at 5:06 pm

  21. 1) I look at the long-term economics of all the the moves.
    I view it that that we’ll have 5 young high potential players on the roster to replace Granderson, Jackson, Lyon, Rodney, and Polanco.

    This is what these players will make in the next 3 years:
    Granderson: $24 million
    Jackson: $15 (just a guess)
    Lyon : $15 million
    Rodney: $15 million (just a guess)
    Polanco: $18 million
    That adds up to $72 million.

    This is what the new guys will be making:
    Scherzer : $2.85 million + $1.7 million in performance bonuses.
    Schlereth: $2 million
    Coke: $2.5 million (guess)
    Jackson: $1.8 million (estimate)
    Sizemore: $1.8 million
    That adds up to $9.8 million.

    The Tigers saved themselves $62+ million for 3+ years.
    The trade plugged the holes in the bullpen that Rodney and Lyon left without costing them a ton of money.

    2) We got quality players. We just don’t have superstars at every position, that is all.
    Laird, Everett, and Inge provide high quality defense.
    Ordonez and Cabrera can provide high quality offense.
    Sizemore and Jackson are high quality rookies.
    Raburn is a quality all around player.
    Avila and Strieby are quality prospects.

    3) We have our difference makers already with Cabrera and Verlander. Most teams are lucky to have just 1 difference maker on their team. We need to give our young players a chance to develop. You never know who’s going to have a breakout year. Opportunity is the greatest factor. A Ben Zobrist or Aaron Hill might be right under our noses.

    by Keith (Mr. X) on Dec 12, 2009 at 5:53 pm

  22. I think if you believe Granderson is truly on the downswing, then his contract isn’t bad in 2010 but it becomes pretty ugly in 2011 and going forward. I realize they have a lot of bad contracts coming off the books in 2010 and the money crunch isn’t there, but I think Dombrowski might just be trying to start over for 2010 and not want to have any dead weight on the books.

    The future is still very bright. The rotation could be dominant for years. Verlander, Porcello, and Scherzer will be a good 1-2-3 starting next season. Guys like Casey Crosby and Jacob Turner will be moving up the ranks in the minors. The bullpen actually has a lot more good young arms then it did 12 months ago.

    Now we still need bats. But DD has always believed those are easier to sign as a FA or trade for and I think the Tigers will be major players next offseason bringing in offense (probably a corner OF and 3B or SS).

    by Dan on Dec 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm

  23. But DD doesn’t sell high like he should. He didn’t deal Polanco after that .340 season, and then we let him walk for nothing. He’s saving money on Grandy but he’s also getting a piece in return before it’s too late, why didn’t he use the same logic with Polli?

    He’s scrambling around without a clear logical plan that solves both short term concerns along with long term. If he would have used a straightforward logical process to start with, then a situation like this would never arise because you stay one or a couple of moves ahead, or rather 1-2 seasons ahead. He’s just now starting to figure that out, but this isn’t the right time to be figuring that out, it’s too late, and now he has to use a haphazard means to get back on track. At least for now in the present day we have one positive thing to focus on for the future; the financial flexibility that will surface over the next 1-2 seasons. But I still think we could have EASILY haphazardly got back on track while still holding onto Granderson, oh well.

    by TSE on Dec 12, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  24. “Playing in the spray – Curtis Granderson”
    http://www.detroittigersweblog.....randerson/

    Billfer- maybe you done too great of a job critiquing Granderson’s hitting in that article.
    I wonder if someone printed it out and put it on Dombrowski’s desk to read. Maybe DD bought into that Granderson hit into too many easy pop outs, so he wanted to dump him before it was revealed that he’s turning into Mike Cameron.

    by Keith (Mr. X) on Dec 12, 2009 at 6:46 pm

  25. Y’know, that’s what I was thinking. Granderson has been on a bit of a downward trend both offensively and defensively during a period where most players are starting to peak. Maybe DD saw Curtis as being at a “sell high” point – certainly if he came back in ’10 and hit .260, which is a very legitimate possibility, the Tigers would be stuck with a fairly expensive mediocre hitting leadoff guy.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wanted Curtis to retire with a D on his chest someday, but I see this trade as DD getting the Tigers getting younger, cheaper, and possibly even better, or at least barring disaster, not significantly worse.

    To be honest, I’m much more concerned with filling Placido’s spot in the lineup than Granderson’s.

    by BT on Dec 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm

  26. That sounds about right to me!

    by Kathy on Dec 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm

  27. Here’s something that might make everyone happy and why I think the Tigers should be top contenders for 1st the AL Central once again.

    The Twins bottom 4 hitters
    Name AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS
    LF Delmon Young .284 .308 .425 .733
    SS JJ Hardy . .229, .302., .357, .659
    3B Brendan Harris .265, .327, .394, .721
    2B Alexi Casilla .202, .280, .259, .538
    That’s pretty brutal.

    The White Sox bottom 9 hitters
    Name AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS
    SS Alexei Ramirez .283 .326 .430 .755
    2B Gordon Beckham .270 .347 .460 .808
    1B Paul Konerko .277 .353 .489 .842
    C A.J. Pierzynski .300 .331 .425 .755
    LF Carlos Quentin .236 .323 .456 .779
    CF Alex Rios .247 .296 .395 .691
    DH Mark Kotsay .278 .327 .390 .717
    3B Mark Teahen .271 .325 .408 .734
    RF Andrew Jones .214 .323 .459 .782
    Look at those OBP’s!!! Terrible.

    The Indians bottom 4
    Name AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS
    LF Matt LaPorta Rookie
    C Wyatt Toregas Rookie
    2B Luis Valbuena .250 .298 .416 .714
    1B Andy Marte .232 .293 .400 .693
    They got some big bats in front of these guys, but their pitching is so terrible it doesn’t matter.

    The Royals
    Name AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS
    CF Mitch Maier .249 .328 .324 .652
    RF Jose Guillen .242 .314 .367 .681
    C John Buck .224 .304 .365 .669
    SS Y. Betancourt .245 .274 .351 .625
    3B Alex Gordon .232 .324 .378 .703
    DH Josh Fields .222 .301 .347 .648
    Is this really an MLB team? Well, at least they have Greinke.

    The Tigers offense has it’s holes, but so do all all these other teams.

    by Keith (Mr. X) on Dec 12, 2009 at 10:50 pm

  28. I think the $ analysis of Keith X is right on target…it’s a big difference over the next 3 years. But you can’t really even think of just saving $ over the next 3 years…you have to kind of think about the $ spent in the last 3 also. At this time in 2007 everyone was giddy (read: spending Illitch’s money) about all the stars they had traded for and signed. You can’t just ignore the fact that they took their shot (and we were all for it) and hey, it didn’t pan out. But you’ve got to man-up and pay the bill. Well, unless you’re Goldman Sachs, but that’s another forum.

    by HeBeGB on Dec 12, 2009 at 11:44 pm

  29. Instead of looking at the deal through a financial lens can we look at it through a value lens?

    The Tigers would not compete this season. The team is filled of old players close to the end of their careers and young players not ready to take this team to the playoffs. So re-signing players like Polanco, Lyon, and Rodney wouldn’t make sense. The team would spend money to be better but not good enough. It will take Detroit a couple of years to win the Central. In 3-4 years Granderson will be past his peak. His value should decline every season from now on. If Detroit wasn’t going to make the playoffs soon then they’d be wasting Granderson’s peak years. Why keep a great player on a bad team? All your doing is making your team the 3rd/4th worst in the Central instead of 4th or last. Is that worth it? No.

    So DD knows keeping Granderson is a waste, just like Toronto holding onto Halladay is a waste. Now, no trade will get the Tigers Granderson’s full value but this deal got 75 cents on the dollar (this is my approximation but the actual number is not important). Keeping Granderson when we’re bad would get us his full value but on a bad team. So would we rather have 100% value on a bad team or 75% of his value (from the trade) when this team should compete?

    To me this trade makes sense. We’re getting the best return we can. Even better, the return should hit when this team turns the corner.

    Yes, the money was important. Would DD have traded Granderson if he didn’t have too? Maybe not, but if we weren’t buying then he should have in either case.

    by Keith on Dec 13, 2009 at 12:43 am

  30. DD took this team from being a minor league team in the majors to a team in the world series. Yes, he’s made some bad signings but he also has taken 2 different teams to the World Series. How many GM’s have done that?

    Also, his successful fire sale in Florida was the only reason Florida had the parts it did to win the World Series in 2003. He got the stars of that team in the fire sale. I can only hope his “fire sale” here will come near the success Florida’s did.

    by Keith on Dec 13, 2009 at 12:47 am

  31. The fact that Granderson hit .190 against lefties and is still seen as a star player shows he is overrated. I loved Granderson and his range and power/speed combo are awesome. But I think his .250 batting average is more realistic from here on out.

    by Keith on Dec 13, 2009 at 12:48 am

  32. He didn’t sell Polanco after the .340 season because everyone thought Detroit was going to compete for the WS. You don’t sell your #2 hitter and a gold glove infielder when your favorites to win the WS.

    You sell a player when the team isn’t going anywhere or you have an internal replacement. Detroit isn’t going anywhere. Granderson is a gold glove CF who hits 30 home runs. This is selling high.

    by Keith on Dec 13, 2009 at 12:50 am

  33. Mark, please keep dumb ass comments to yourself. your post added nothing important. Please shut up if you have nothing useful to add.

    by Keith on Dec 13, 2009 at 12:51 am

  34. Keith (great name by the way),

    I agree with your post but I just wanted to fix a small mistake.

    We’ll get more then 5 guys. Rodney and Lyon with both get us 1 first round pick and 1 sandwich pick. This should get us 5 young prospects & 2 late first round picks (taken about where Porcello was taken) & 2 picks between the first and second round.

    by Keith on Dec 13, 2009 at 12:55 am

  35. Good points, Keith. Let’s face it, we don’t have the market size to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox year after year. We need to develop young players so that they hit their pick simultaneously with key FA acquisitions and trades that fill the holes. This is how most teams must be managed in this era. A year or two of rebuilding occasionally should be expected.
    I just really hope some of these guys live up to their potential. In 2011 look for FA corner outfielders, third base, maybe shortstop, at least a couple of which need to be lefties.
    Building on young pitching is also smart because we’ve seen how expensive and unreliable veteran free agent pitchers can be. Let’s just not continue to make the mistake of overpaying them when they start to show a little success.

    by Mark L on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:10 am

  36. Sorry I missed the rule against making a joke. I know how seriously Ilitch and Dombrowski are poring over every comment here so they can learn how they ought to run the team. They really need our help.

    by Mark L on Dec 13, 2009 at 4:33 am

  37. The one variable about Granderson that kills his value is the fact that he’s vulnerable against lefties, making him either a six inning player against righties only. His defense has fallen down as of late. I wonder if he’s having issues with his eyesight. I hate the trade as much as anybody else, although the player I really like is Scherzer. As far as Austin Jackson goes, I hope he’s not worried about being the next Granderson, but the first Austin Jackson. I’d be happy if he was a similar player to Denard Span.

    by David Hinkle on Dec 13, 2009 at 6:20 am

  38. Similar to Denard Span would be fine by me. Maybe we can take this trade in one sense as a vote of confidence in McClendon. One of his big criticisms was that he wasn’t helping Granderson hit against lefties and make contact better. Maybe the higher-ups have determined that McClendon is the right man for his job, and Granderson not the right man for his job. A lot of us would disagree, but we don’t have the inside information. Could it be that McClendon tried several approaches that have worked with other players? Perhaps Granderson smiles and nods (nice guy that he is), but doesn’t make the adjustments. It’s pure speculation, but it could have come down to a choice between the two, or continuing to see no progress. Not all coach/player problems are shouting matches and public wars of words.

    I’m not trying to accuse Granderson. Maybe he doesn’t respect McClendon, but Dombrowski and Leyland do (he’s still the hitting coach).

    I’m dealing with the reality of the trade, but we need some of these guys to pan out. Scherzer looks good. We need at least one of the other three to make a valuable contribution before long.

    by Mark L on Dec 13, 2009 at 8:08 am

  39. Mike, I agree that DD should be doubted. The job he did getting the Tigers from dead last in 2003 to winning the pennant in 2006 was outstanding. He can’t live off that forever though. What has he done since then? Sure, they have contended three of the last four years but given the division they play in and the generosity of his owner, it would have been pretty hard not to put together a contending team.

    He’s given out too many bad contracts and has failed to develop any good position players other than Granderson. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a talented GM but he’s flawed and should be questioned like any other GM.

    Lee

    by Lee Panas on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:26 am

  40. You don’t do a trade without it making sense in your eyes.

    They wanted to shed payroll. They wanted to get younger. They wanted to get more pitching. They possibly sold Granderson off a high. They wanted to get a larger talent base. Their scouts possibly believe that these young players are going to perform well for years at a low cost. They have many non-renewing season ticket holders. They wanted to shore up their rotation with two somewhat durable pitchers for one.

    There is a list of DD’s probable reasons for ya’, I’m sure I hit the nail on the head with at least several of them.

    by David on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:54 am

  41. Let’s say he has an OPS of .820 (the average of the last two years). Would he be a better player if he batted .820 versus LHP and RHP, rather than the radical platoon split? I would argue that having a radical platoon split is better because then you know when to pinch hit for him in late innings. If it’s late in the game and a RHP is on the mound, you’ve got a star up at the plate. If a LHP is on the mound, then you pinch hit.

    The fact is that, even with his flaws, Granderson is an above average all around player. People focusing on his flaws now that he’s been traded does not change that. He will not be easy to replace.

    Lee

    by Lee Panas on Dec 13, 2009 at 10:16 am

  42. We just won’t know anyting until 2010 and 2011.

    by Kathy on Dec 13, 2009 at 10:50 am

  43. 1. The AL Central was NOT weak in 2006 and 2007. Especially 2006. So that excuse is not valid except for the past 2 seasons. And this past season it took a series of unfortunate events repeated twice to lose in the 163rd game. I don’t know metric says that 1 game is the difference between doing a great job in 2009 and doing a lousy job in 2009.

    2. The Twins have or had freaking Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, and Justin Morneau. That’s a couple MVPs, a couple Cy Youngs, and the best closer this side of Mariano Rivera. I know their payroll isn’t that of the Tigers, but those 4 players make up the difference and quite a bit more. So let’s not fall into the trap of saying any team with these 4 players on it is any sort of underdog, just because they can’t win a playoff series.

    Side arguments:

    3. GMs don’t typically lose their skills like ballplayers. He’s obviously made some mistakes, but it doesn’t mean he’s lost it or can’t get it back like Dontrelle Willis.

    4. Reports around this time a couple years ago was that the Twins had a standing offer of Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson, and Coco Crisp for Johan Santana. He’s made mistakes, but cripes, who hasn’t?

    by the fume on Dec 13, 2009 at 11:15 am

  44. Or the Tigers think he will be the new Steve Kemp?

    by jcm on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm

  45. That’s all fine and dandy, but we could have also traded Grandy for free use of the Yankees corporate jets, but the problem I have with this team is our hitting talent deficiencies and what do all of those questions have to do with that? No doubt several issues are greatly improved, I just don’t like the selection and prioritizing of the issues.

    by TSE on Dec 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm

  46. But he wasn’t our #2 hitter, this is the problem with DD is that he doesn’t value players properly and then he doesn’t stay consistent. He probably did value Polanco as our #2 hitter, which is way more than I valued him. Now he let him walk whereas I wouldn’t have because he values Polanco less than I do. He flip-flopped from overvaluing Polanco to undervaluing him. That’s not good.

    by TSE on Dec 13, 2009 at 2:05 pm

  47. Rodney and Lyon and class B free agents and the TIgers get no first round pick as compensation, just a sandwich round pick. So they’ll end up with 2 sandwich picks in exchange for them.

    by Dan on Dec 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm

  48. A point should be made that you shouldn’t offer a player arbitration if you don’t want him to accept. Polanco might have excepted arbitration because nobody would of offered him a 3 year deal if they’d also have to give us a 1st round draft pick and that supplementary pick. I don’t think we could chance being stuck with him for another year with his big salary, but also Scott Sizemore would probably have to wait for another year when he was clearly ready to be our new 2B.
    Moving Polanco to 3rdbase would of been the best thing to do for the team, if money didn’t matter. Then you’d have to do something with Inge.

    by Keith (Mr. X) on Dec 13, 2009 at 2:39 pm

  49. this was a great trade, folks. tigs rec’d 3 top young ptichers and a fantastic position player. grandy was a likeable guy but over the hill at 29. he cost them big time this year. jackson will be up and down. jackson also cost them big time down the stretch. tigs will surprise in 10.

    by jrs68 on Dec 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm

  50. There was just so much to love about Curtis Granderson both on and off the field. Even though he’s a Yankee now, I still can’t stand them. I hope they lose their division and we win. Grandy will always look the best in the old English D and that’s how I’ll remember him. An Al Kaline, he was not, however.

    by Kathy on Dec 13, 2009 at 6:40 pm

  51. I give Dombrowski all the credit in the world for getting the team back to respectability, but that’s all he did. I won’t even get into the team’s record with the team before 2006 when a lot of the roster did not include Dombrowski’s guy. But since the team’s hot 2006 start, the team is 267-270. With a payroll as large as the Tigers that’s truly underachieving. So the idea that Dombrowski has all this credibility in the bank just isn’t true. Tigers fans are justifiably skeptical. I agree with Billfer, it’s not that Granderson was untouchable but the value coming back just doesn’t seem to be there. When your team only makes the playoffs onece and you jettison your centerfielder, your second baseman, and your number #2 starter and you get only prospects back that’s only a success when you compared it to the Randy Smith era.

    by stephen on Dec 13, 2009 at 7:17 pm

  52. To be fair, Max Scherzer pitched 170 innings in the majors last year and 56 the year before. He’s moved past prospect I’d say – and in a good way. Phil Coke on the other hand, barely a prospect to begin with and he’s also moved past that stage but with really no anticipation of additional growth.

    But I agree with stephen and others who are questioning Dombrowski. I’ve mostly supported his moves, and even if I didn’t agree with it I could see the reasoning. That’s not the case this time.

    by billfer on Dec 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  53. You fail to mention that Scherzer is younger and already better than Edwin Jackson. That’s not a bad swap. And jettisoning the 2nd baseman? I’d be shocked if Sizemore didn’t outperform Polanco at the plate next season, plus he’s cheaper.

    Dombrowski decided they couldn’t compete for a WS title with the current makeup of the team so they needed to rebuiled. Once you make that decision, nobody is untouchable and the goal of every roster move isn’t to make the team better in 2010, it’s to make them better in 2011 and beyond.

    by Dan on Dec 13, 2009 at 8:04 pm

  54. Bill- I’ve been reading your blog a long time and always respect your take on things. This is the first issue that’s prompted me to actually put my two cents in- i still guess i don’t quite get where you’re coming from. you say you don’t see the reasoning on this one. i get not agreeing with the reasoning-that’s part of the fun of baseball and hot stove stuff- but i guess i don’t understand why you don’t at least see the reasoning. you could make the $$ argument(which i don’t personally make), or you could say he just thought it was a good baseball move, based on granderson projection vs. ajax/max/etc. projection. again, disagree, sure, but to not at least see the argument is puzzling to me.

    by c baker on Dec 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm

  55. Rarely is a trade ever be completely balanced (from a talent perspective) at the time of the transaction – so any speculation about which team rec’d the most talent or which players are ‘better’ prior to mid-2010 and the ensuing year or two is just that, speculation (too many intangibles and variables, especially involving pitchers). I don’t think any team gave up a franchise player or future superstar, but if it turns out there was one in this mix, the odds are in the Tiger’s favor with respect to the 4 players they rec’d – and we can eliminate Granderson, E. Jackson, Coke and Kennedy from that (superstar) list.

    Remove the emotions and any illusions of ‘team loyalty’ (its a business people) and this trade appears to fulfill all three teams wants – and i suspect that before the end of 2010 the majority of Tiger fans will see DD’s logic and be thankful he pulled the trigger on this one.

    by Stormin Norman $ on Dec 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm

  56. Perhaps we under-value Austin Jackson also. In Spring Training Jackson hit .333 (12-for-36) with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 23 games. Watch Austin Jackson’s grandslam-
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....Id=rss_mlb

    At the end of May, in AAA, Jackson was hitting .349.
    and they compared him to Kirby Puckett.
    http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/.....ting-game/

    Maybe that’s the Austin Jackson we traded for.

    by Keith (Mr. X) on Dec 13, 2009 at 8:53 pm

  57. What? He has been our #2 hitter primarily all along. You know, the guy who bats behind the leadoff guy… a very important position in the lineup that Polanco filled very effectively… until this year.

    You say he has flip-flopped on Polanco and undervalues him, which tells me you think we should be offering him arbitration. Do you think Polanco had a good year? Because I don’t. He played in more games and got less hits and a lower batting average this year than in any of his years in Detroit. You can’t sell high with numbers like that… which is why he’s walking.

    I won’t argue that DD has been a model of consistency, but I think he is pretty good at pumping value into players that have faults. Look at the smoke and mirrors game he pulled on Maybin and Miller.

    by MattP on Dec 13, 2009 at 10:07 pm

  58. Fume, #2 seems to be a defense of Leyland rather than Granderson. Maybe the Twins had players because of a better GM. I don’t know if that’s true. I just didn’t see the point of your defense.

    As for point 1, I did give credit to DD for 2006. I just wasn’t particularly impressed with the team win totals in 2007-2009 given the payroll and the division. I don’t blame that all on him but I think there is room for criticism.

    I do think DD has been a good GM overall. I don’t think he’s the infallible genius he is sometimes built up to be by Tigers fans.

    Lee

    by Lee Panas on Dec 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm

  59. You gave credit for 2006 in one sentence and then in the other called the division weak for the last 4 years.

    I think you misunderstood #2….don’t know what Leyland or Granderson had to do with that. The Twins are relevant because they’ve been the best in the division over the relevant time frame…..they’re the competition and don’t seem to get the credit they deserve for the superstar talent they have. I blame the Punto-effect.

    You can always say that X isn’t what Y thinks he is. Most people would say he’s obviously not infallible, but I see more people treating him like ‘Dumbrowski’ than I do seeing a guy who seems to know what he’s doing but is still prone to the bad contract or not valuing the control pitcher enough. Hey….he doesn’t seem to develop hitters as well as pitchers….so he focuses on pitching. Now your weakness. There’s not a perfect GM out there.

    by the fume on Dec 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm

  60. DD is by far the best GM the franchise has had since at least the early 80s. He may not be perfect, but he’s really good. Asking “what have you done for me lately” since 2006 seems a little absurd.

    Contrast Detroiter’s reactions to DD with the reaction to another local GM who has presided over a steady decline since 2004 with missteps along the way that make the Dontrelle signing look brilliant. Maybe being way off in Auburn Hills gets you some leeway.

    by Mat on Dec 13, 2009 at 11:17 pm

  61. ok ok the reason i keep defending dombrowski is because people keep cherry-picking facts to tell me how good he’s not. how convenient that you choose their peak in 2006 to start counting. using the same tactics, i could say that granderson is on a giant downward slide from 2007 on.

    if jackson was our #2 starter, then scherzer is our #2 starter. scherzer is not a prospect, unless porcello is considered one too.

    there was no way we were keeping polanco for that money. could we have gotten 2 picks? maybe. we might have gotten stuck with a big contract…..which is obviously no longer in the cards. by the same token, i think you will find that rodney will do worse in FA than he would have through arbitration. so maybe that’s an extra draft pick that we shouldn’t be in line to get.

    DDs strength seems to be working with a somewhat limited payroll. He’s gotten into the most trouble when he tries to play big-market man, and it seems like this team is no longer a big market. So it should be a good fit going forward.

    by the fume on Dec 14, 2009 at 10:34 pm

  62. Great point. The trade for Iverson was one of the worst trades I’ve seen any GM in Detroit make.

    by Robert Howard on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

  63. my opinion: the jury’s out on this trade. I’ve never seen any of the acquired pitchers pitch. So I can’t comment on them. If these guys pitch well, it’s a good trade. Pitching is now, and always has been, the heart of the game. Good pitching beats good hitting every time. So I’m more bummed at giving up EJax than anything. He threw strikes…something many pitchers [like Rodney and D-train] couldn’t seem to accomplish with any regularity. I’m glad Rodney is gone….for the reason just stated. I wish we could’ve kept Lyon. And D-train: he’s done. Get rid of him; he’s just worthless flotsam now. I’m sure we can find another OF somewhere….there never seems to be a shortage of OFs. What concerned me about Grandy was the K’s….and his massive drop in BA this past season. And his throwing ability is, quite frankly, poor at best. He never threw the ball on a line, but always had to ‘loop’ the throw in. Just like Damon. Now the Yankees have 2 OFs that can’t throw. Grandy’s gonna get his HRs…the short porch in NY will see to that. Maybe DD did ‘sell high’ here….the only way to know for sure is to see what happens this coming season. If these new pitchers pitch well, then it’s ok in my book.

    by Scott on Dec 27, 2009 at 8:43 pm

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