Best trades before Winter Meetings

As we head into Winter Meetings there have been some trades made that have made some teams better and other teams weaker in my opinion. I will deal with just two trades in particular. Both of them involve the Tigers.

It is only my opinion, but the trading of Prince Fielder and Doug Fister have made the Tigers much weaker today than they were at the end of the season. I know Prince had a bad postseason, but you have to take into account the protection he provided the 2012 and 2013 MVP, Miguel Cabrera. Prince had a down year in the homer category. He still was able to drive in over 100 runs for the second straight year in Detroit, and behind a guy who has driven in over 280 runs during that time. Prince hit over .400 following a walk to Miggy. Ian Kinsler is a good player, but the Rangers definitely got the better of that deal. Prince could hit over 50 home runs a year in Arlington. Also, whoever he hits behind in that Ranger lineup can expect to see their numbers go up dramatically.

The other trade the Tigers made that I feel weakened them was the trade of Fister — probably the best fourth starter in baseball — to the Nationals. The Nats got better and also now have insurance in case Stephen Strasburg is hurt again. They had to give up a utility player, a lefthanded reliever and a youngster. The lefthander will help the Tiger bullpen, but the loss of Fister weakens their rotation.

What this tells me is that the Tigers are freeing up money to sign Max Scherzer, or to go out and sign another big name hitter and a proven closer like Joe Nathan. The closer role and bullpen in general were the reasons the Tigers didn’t advance to World Series this past season.

Dave Dombroski is to smart to make these trades without a replacement plan in place. But as we sit here today, they have not come out on the right side of either trade.


This is why it’s so difficult to evaluate any trade or free agent signing in the offseason, especially before the Winter Meetings. In a vacuum, yes, these two moves appear to make the Tigers weaker; however, if as you suggested they extend Scherzer, sign Nathan (as it appears they’re going to), move Cabrera to first base to preserve him a la Joe Mauer, maybe go after one or two middle relievers in the Aaron Loup mode (assuming Rondon’s the primary 8th-inning guy), and then they’re arguably better off overall, even without Fielder’s production and Fister in the 4-spot in the rotation. This does, however, make the dangerous assumption that either Porcello or Smyly can take the #4 role and at least be “almost as good”.

At any rate, “it remains to be seen” is probably the order of the day.

I agree that the trades (so far) make the Tigers weaker looking at 2014. They do, however, make them a better team beyond next season. The Tigers look like they will be better defensively next season, so that will help Porcello for sure. Ridding themselves of Princes’ salary really frees some money up, and signing Nathan was a good deal. That being said, I don’t think that DD is done dealing yet, and they will add a hefty lefty bat for LF, and bolster the bullpen a bit before it’s all said and done. They’re still in ‘win now’ mode, but it’s good to see that managment is looking to the future at the same time also.

Mitch, I know you appreciate what a good fielding first baseman does for a pitcher. In this regard, Prince was a major negative, which, we both believe, current statistics do not adequately capture. Drive in a run, let a run get under your glove. Wears down a pitching staff after awhile. That, and the $ saved, makes this a good trade.

Felt so hopeless looking for answers to my quuo.isns.t.entil now.

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too smart not to smart…..I think the tigers will be as strong if not stronger but time will tell….Either way, it will be an interesting season for the Bless You Boys of Summer.

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