Wrapping up the trade

After some extensive reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that this deal will never really sit well with me. By never I don’t actually mean for eternity, but at least until the fruits of the trade bear some sort of championship or something. That isn’t a reflection on the players the Tigers received, more on the circumstances and the players they let go. Still, there are ends to tie up and dots to connect and other miscellany in need of blogging.

Roster Moves

The Tigers are plus 2 on their 40 man roster once this deal is made official. Jon Morosi tweeted that the Tigers have let it be known that Bobby Seay, Dusty Ryan, and Jeff Larish are on the trade block.

I can see trying to get something for players who aren’t in the plans, and it’s clear that Ryan isn’t a Jim Leyland favorite (and they signed Robinzon Diaz to a minor league deal today), but why hold space on the roster for Dontrelle Willis or Don Kelly?

Lefty-palooza

In the last 2 days the Tigers have picked up 3 left handed bullpen arms. The Tigers dropped Clay Rapada but they still have Fu-Te Ni and Seay on the roster. Now Thomas is kind of a question mark but the Tigers expect him to help at the big league level. Daniel Schlereth may need more seasoning in the minors and it remains to be seen if the Tigers will use Phil Coke in the rotation or the pen.

But more and more signs point to Seay being non-tendered. Seay would likely make about $2 million so that could potentially be another opportunity to save $1.5 million.

Payroll

Given today’s moves, and even allowing for a return by Seay, I have estimated the Tigers payroll to be about $115 million heading into 2010. In 2011 that committed money drops to $49 million with Magglio Ordonez’s option and $34 million without. Of course that only accounts for 3 players so the Tigers would have some holes to fill.

Unfortunately I do believe that today’s move will have a negative impact on attendance before the season even begins. People are pissed and I’ve heard many say they are cancelling their season tickets. It wouldn’t surprise me to see outrage and empty checking accounts combine to knock down the season ticket base by 3000 which is roughly a quarter of a million tickets. It gets worse if the Tigers record sinks and let’s face it, this team isn’t as good as last year.

Silver Linings

Despite being bummed out that Granderson is gone, the reviews of the trade from around the country have been mostly favorable. Keith Law, Dave Cameron, and Rob Neyer have all said that the Tigers did well. Danny Knobler talked to several executives that thought the Tigers got a real nice collection of players. Mike Rogers put some estimates on performance and salary and things seem to work out well in that regard as well.

I’ll just reiterate now that when I speak ill of this trade, it isn’t the players the Tigers got back. I think the Tigers got a decent package. I just never wanted to part with Granderson in the first place.

The legacy

Dave Dombrowski has made a number of bold moves in his career. He traded Randy Johnson for Mark Langston. He turned some blockbusters as the Marlins GM and the Miguel Cabrera trade was epic. But if this trade doesn’t work out (and we won’t know if it works out for a couple years), this will be his legacy in the Detroit due to Granderson’s popularity. It takes guts to make a move like that.

24 Comments

  1. HeBeGB

    December 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I’m not sure the adoration of fans to ballplayers is exactly a two-way street. Despite fans loving Polanco, 2 minutes after signing with Philly he says he never wanted to leave and sounds relieved to be somewhere else. I think the same goes for Granderson. He won’t say it, part of that ‘polite charm’ of his, but I think he’s more than happy to be out of Detroit. He has lots of TV and general celebrity ambition and I believe he really wanted to be in a different, and bigger market. So let’s not get too emotionally attached to players that don’t really share the same feelings.

    • Stormin Norman $

      December 9, 2009 at 8:25 am

      welll stated – its not the end of the world for Curtis Granderson and the Tigers – players are traded and leave as free agents all the time… be happy Curtis that he’s on a better team and the Tigers rec’d some quality players in return.

    • Birdy

      December 10, 2009 at 5:02 am

      I disagree. What’s Polly supposed to say? Smart players follow Mike Damone’s point 3 and act like wherever they are, that’s the place to be. “Isn’t this great?”
      I don’t think fame or money means that much to Curtis. “More than happy” to leave? I disagree there too. While I’m sure he relishes a new challenge, I think he’s probably built a lot of close relationships within the organization that he’s going to miss. Emotional attachment? I suppose fans are fans. But I think you’ll see evidence of an emotional attachment both ways the first time the Yankees visit Detroit (Monday May 10, 7:05pm).
      And while I’m ok with Curtis being gone, I’M SURE it’s not my place to tell other fans how and why to be fans. I’m most interested in winning, and I think there’s a chance the trade helps us do that in the long run, and I had been a little frustrated with Curtis the last few years. But certainly people like Curtis are few and far between, especially in the ranks of professional athletes. More power to people that recognize that and yearn for that in their heroes.
      I’m saddened that some are going to cancel season tickets. That will have a real effect on the noise at the stadium and more importantly, revenue that could be spent trying to improve the team. I’m 100% behind the concept of people voting with their wallets. I just hope everyone is clear on the facts when voting.

  2. Dave

    December 8, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade for a left-handed starter. The Tigers don’t have a quality lefty in the rotation (sorry, Nate) – unless they know something about Dontrelle that we don’t….

  3. Andrew

    December 8, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Of course they’ll hold on to Willis. Despite their willingness to dump veterans who have a large amount of money left (Sheff, Easley) and the fact that there are plenty of players more effective (and more deserving) of a spot on the 40-man roster, they’ll keep him in case hell freezes over and he turns into a decent $10M 5th starter.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      December 9, 2009 at 12:14 am

      What’s the alternative? Just eat $18M? (or whatever it is, maybe it’s $22M)

  4. RotT

    December 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    ALL ETERNITY

  5. Chris in Nashville

    December 8, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I still can’t believe this happened. The article by John Paul Morosi I think really summed this up the best. Giving all that money to Robertson/Willis/Inge/Cabby when we really didn’t have to came back to bite Dombrowski in the arse and we are feeling it now. I can’t say I’m mad for trying, but in hind sight, many mistakes were made. I still don’t see the reason to not wait till next year when all this money comes off the books, but it’s too late for that now. It’s done. And it sucks. Bad.

  6. stephen

    December 8, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Well, as Morosi says, this is a fiasco of Dombrowski’s creation. So I’m not really sure if Dombrowski’s moves are really a sign of guts or desperate self-preservation. It’s kind of like when after the Fall of France in 1940 the Dunkirk evacuation was spun as a huge triumph. Well, yes, but if the French and the Brits hadn’t bungled the defense of France in the first place there wouldn’t have needed to be an evacuation!
    I think the Tigers made out ok in the deal, but there’s no way this makes the team better for 2010. Maybe 2011, but not next year. I guess they could somehow get to 85 wins again, but it’s hard to see. The 2010 edition is going to start, probably, two rookies, a .215 hitting shortstop, a 3rd baseman about to set the team record for strikeouts, a first baseman who blew a .26 bac before the big game, and have approximately 28 million wrapped up in two outfielders who should be dhing or retired.
    Yes, the trades might pan out down the road, but it’s hard to see a future where Dombrowski or Leyland is around long enough to see it. I just hope Verlander is still here and doesn’t lose faith.

  7. Eric Cioe

    December 9, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I like this deal. Hate to give up Granderson, but Scherzer around through 2015, plus Jackson and Schlereth? I’ll take it.

  8. Chris Y.

    December 9, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Sucks is right. The wrong guy got the sword. I’m not (I know I’m not alone; Billfer’s estimate of ticket losses are probably conservative) jazzed about ’10.

    Mostly, I don’t see how this helps a team that couldn’t score. More pitching is exactly what the Tigers needed. I also don’t see how this helps team/fan morale. In fact, it’s potentially devastating. You just don’t voluntarily trade Stevie Y./Trammell/Barry/etc. Heck, even the big-dollar free-agent roulette Yanks know this: you don’t trade the Face (in their case, D. Jeter). Are there better SS out there (Yanks case), yes, absolutely. Are there better CF, than Granderson, yes. But he was the Detroit Tigers. If I could buy season tickets, I wouldn’t in 2010. I’m certainly not going to make the extra effort to see the Tigers in person this year (disclaimer: I live in CA now, but usually see the Tigers on the road 4-5 times/yr).

    Granderson is a class act. Showed up to the park to give everything EVERY day (Cabrera, I’m looking at you!), he wanted to be on the field, had fun, played the game humbly, and over-achieved. Curtis is a player that makes you forget all of the ugly parts of the game, including things like what happened today. I hate the Yankees with every bone in my body, but I will always pull for Grandy. I hope he sticks is to DD and pals, damn it all.

    I just felt sick all day. Miss you already Granderson, take it easy on us. We’ll need all the help we can get….on our way to the Central basement.

  9. Coleman

    December 9, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I’ve been struggling to say something about this trade; I literally can’t think of a thing to say, yet it feels unbearable to say nothing. Hmmn.

    Oh well, when in doubt, be trivial, I always say…re Chris in Nashville, Guillen’s contract is worse than Cabrera’s or Inge’s, both of whom are worth what they are being paid (if you give credence to Fangraphs, Inge has been worth far more than paid every season but 2008, even with his legendary strikeout totals.)

    Speaking of which, one thing that’s sorta cool about the mobile version of the site–besides the fact that there is one (kudos to billfer, whatever kudos are)–is that you end up reading posts before you see the poster’s name, and often know exactly who the poster is before you see the name.

  10. Ken in Las Vegas

    December 9, 2009 at 2:28 am

    Am I the only moron that doesn’t understand why there is a picture of a beagle with this post? He’s cute…and makes me feel complacent. Shouldn’t there be a picture of a F150 slamming into him or something?? Without Placido and Grandy, we have a significant drop in the rolemodelmeter. Now I look up to…….Adam Everett?? Ugh. Now my Tiger is…….Cabrera?? Oh, that’s real original, Ken. Let’s face it, our team just got a little bit lamer. But, did we just get a little bit better? Quite possible. Maybe not this year, but possibly every year after. This is a classic example of buying low and selling high. Let’s not act like Granderson was Mr. Reliable. He was not. I never felt all that great about him being at the plate when it mattered. Every time he hit a home run, it was a pleasant surprise. I loved him, but if he was a jerk, we probably have a very different idea about his value to the team.

  11. David G

    December 9, 2009 at 4:51 am

    I don’t get the Beagle pic.

  12. David

    December 9, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Hey

    Here is how I see this trade (with probably many reiterated points)

    1) They get three pitchers and one hitter for a pitcher and a hitter.
    2) They get a lot younger***
    3) They shed payroll
    4) They sell Jackson on a high off his best year, and after they abused him somewhat down the stretch
    5) They sell Granderslam off somewhat of a low – but still made good off him if several of these guys even develop into their projections. Although there are many things to like – guy is 29 with a noodle arm, and relatively poor contact. The question is will Austin Jackson develop into a Grandersonesque hitter? It is pretty obvious he has the speed.

    I like this trade a lot. I’m sorry but Grandy wasn’t a winner. He was a great player don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think he was a leader or had the fire. He was no Pudge in that respect and with a 113 career OPS+ as an OUTFIELDER with good d, along with the fact that we have Clete Thomas and others who can replace him now at a fraction of the cost he was expendable. I mean yeah he was popular and a super nice guy, probably his rarest attribute (when compared to other players) but in the end it is all about winning or rebuilding to win and while he may have several more good years ala 2008 they most likely dealt him at a decent time.

    *****
    If both Coke and Max can
    1) start
    2) are durable (ie at least like 170IP)
    3) are cheap
    4) for a long time
    5) with sub 4.2 ERAs at least this next year

    Then along with this other guy we could have gotten out like bandits, especially if Edwin Jackson was a “one-year wonder”.

    If on the other hand Coke is a reliever, Maxy Max has his spells and struggles against the AL for awhile, the hotshot reliever never materializes or does so in a Zumaya fashion (one year wonder), Austin Jackson turns out to be a Nook Logan plus, Edwin Jackson shows he was no fluke and Granderslam reverts back to his 2007 with the Bronx Bombers… then we got shafted.

    I hope they both start.

    It is pretty obvious though that Dombrowski is throwing dynamite at what was in many respects a team of failures. I just hope he has done his homework, and collected the right youth.

    • Jack

      December 10, 2009 at 2:23 am

      “I’m sorry but Grandy wasn’t a winner. He was a great player don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think he was a leader or had the fire. He was no Pudge in that respect… but in the end it is all about winning or rebuilding to win”

      OK, I’m sorry, but you sound like a Yankee fan here. “He wasn’t a winner, so we got rid of him! Only winners win!” By that logic, why don’t we just trade off the whole damn team?

      Also, it was my understanding that Pudge was an asshole in the clubhouse and NOT a good leader.

      • Coleman

        December 10, 2009 at 5:51 am

        That’s what has been said; on the other hand, dude has a statue of himself in his yard, like all good leaders do, so there’s that side of it…

  13. billfer

    December 9, 2009 at 7:28 am

    That’s my dog. I couldn’t think of a picture that fit and I’ve already used Scherzer, Jackson, Granderson pictures. I like beagles so I used a picture of my beagle.

  14. Stormin Norman $

    December 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Regarding 2010 attendance and the impact this trade will factor into an attendance decline – with or without this trade, the Tigers attendance (and season tix sales) is going to dip next year.

    Whether they have a winning record or not will determine attendance more than anything – and for every Granderson lover who has sworn a boycott of the Tigers, there are others that will come out if the Tigers win and compete next year… and me thinks even the bitter fans will have a change of heart if they’re winning. AND had the Tigers not made any off-season moves and fielded the same or similar team, even with Granderson, if they have a losing record, fans would b*tch and stop buying tix or limit their ticket purchases.

  15. Mark L

    December 9, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Does Jackson bat lefty or righty?

  16. Mark L

    December 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Ah, found it. Righty. Figures.

  17. amason

    December 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    At first I thought Morosi’s article was stupid but kiinda see how it makes sense if he didn’t frame it as he did. Its not because there is a lot of money owed to people that Curtis got traded but that those guys cannot be traded for anything of value. This team who admittley is now worse than last year needs a new direction because “lets face it” last years team was not that good either. Unfortunatley Granderson and E-Jax are the only two guys not named Verlander or Cabrerra who can bring anything back. I think that if Guillen, Maggs, Nate or Willis still had value they would go and the Tigers probably keep Curtis and E-jax … on that point I agree … then again if those four were still decent/above-average players the Tigers might still have been title contenders … so …

    For now it at least looks like DD thinks its still worthwhile to build around JV and Migeul and although yesterdays moves may hurt signing JV was he going to be excited about resigining with a perennial 80 win team if they keep Granderson and E-Jax? Really there is no guarantee either way and I will not be suprised to see JV get traded next off-season if the team can’t work out an extension …

  18. Phan

    December 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Detroit fans fell in love with Granderson’s charming personality, causing many to overrate him as a player. He’s good, not great. Despite his good range, he misplays too many balls, and his arm is just barely adequate for centerfield (although after Johnny Damon, he’ll look like Roberto Clemente to Yankee fans). He’s got decent power, which will be exaggerated in Yankee Stadium, but with his OBP and strikeouts, as well as his inability to hit LHP, I’ve always disliked him batting leadoff and it’s hard to imagine him remaining there with the Yankees. I think he’d actually benefit batting lower in the order, and maybe not being one of the ‘go to’ guys in NY will help correct some of the deficiencies I mentioned. It’s a great career move for him, going to a winner in a big market where his off-field opportunities should increase. I’m happy for the guy, because he seems like a genuinely good person, but it’s not the end of the world for the Tigers.
    Inconsistency has been the story of Jackson’s career, and I don’t think that will ever change.
    The deal seems to reflect poor roster management by Dombrowski, which does make me wonder about his future with the Tigers.
    As for the kids we get, who knows? We can only keep our fingers crossed.

  19. Chris in Dallas

    December 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    You think this was bad? Just wait until they’re struggling at the ASB and the “Tigers look to deal Verlander” articles start popping up.