The Tigers have yet to make a move at the winter meetings, but according to various reports, that hasn’t been their choice.
In what was probably the biggest news (ESPN insider) Javier Vasquez invoked his no-trade clause to block a trade between the Diamondbacks and Tigers. According to Peter Gammons the Tigers were prepared to send Joel Zumaya and Curtis Granderson to Arizona. My first reaction was thank you Javy. I’m a big fan of Granderson, and Zumaya’s future certainly looks bright. Upon a little bit of reflection though, I think that most Tiger fans would be very satisfied if Joel Zumaya ended up being the pitcher that Vazquez is today, yet there is no guarantee. To give up a pitcher of Vazquez’s ability the Diamondbacks would probably demand a player who could contribute today (Granderson) as well as a prospect. The price tag isn’t ridiculous. A lot of fans have called for a top of the rotation starter – and those have a high price.
However, I’m still glad that the trade didn’t happen. First, both Granderson and Zumaya are years away from arbitration, yet alone free agency. Vazquez is signed for the next two seasons for $23 million, which isn’t cheap even in today’s climate. Second, as a long suffering fan I’ve been waiting for the farm system to produce something. I want to see these guys succeed and for them to do it in a Detroit uniform. Third, while the price may have been fair, I still think it would have been a better deal for the Diamondbacks.
The other thing to remember is that just because this trade didn’t happen, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dave Dombrowski has received calls from other GM’s willing to part with pitchers for a Granderson/Zumaya package (ie Billy Beane offering up Zito).
(UPDATE: Dave Dombrowski and Josh Byrnes have denied all reports, acknowledging there was trade talk but that it never got to the point of Vazquez. Dombrowski said, “And I don’t mean to downplay [Vazquez] at all, but that is not an appealing situation for us.”
I don’t think it was an appealing situation for any of us. Phew.)
In addition to the Vazquez news, there was a report that the Tigers and Mets had discussions regarding Pudge Rodriguez. Talks broke down when the Tigers demanded too much. I consider this to be good news. I don’t think the Tigers should trade Rodriguez, because I don’t think they would get fair value with him coming off of a rough season. And while his contract has been mentioned as prohibitive, there are only two years left on it, making it much more manageable.
Rule 5 Primer
With the Tigers dropping Ryan Raburn, they are now able to participate in the Rule 5 draft. If you want to read up on who the Tigers might select, head over to Baseball Analysts where they break down some likely selections (incidentally no current Tiger minor leaguers are listed).
December 7th is also the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to potential free agents. In the Tigers case this may mean offers to Rondell White and Jason Johnson. Given the way the offseason is going, I’d be surprised if the Tigers don’t offer Johnson arbitration. If he accepts the Tigers have a league average inning eater for one season, and at a somewhat reasonable price. If he declines they get a draft pick. I’d imagine that Johnson is likely to decline arbitration given the fact the can get a multi-year deal. White may be more likely to accept because a one year deal will give him a chance to prove his shoulder is healed. The trouble is the Tigers don’t really have room for him.
Erie’s Coaching Staff
The Tigers announced that the coaching staff at AA Erie will return next year.