Well, I don’t really have much to write about this week. The Tigers are playing the type of highly confusing baseball they have played all season. They have next to no chance of making the playoffs for the first time in a long time. And they just sold off a lot of superstar pieces.
We will start there. A lot of people are assuming that Cespedes and possibly Price will automatically come back and play for the Tigers next year. First, you rarely see that happen. Generally, the team that traded the player doesn’t even make a move at season’s end. I would like to see them go after Cespedes particularly, but I just don’t see it happening, unless he is willing to come back at a steep discount. And that leads me to the second point, free agents generally only have an allegiance to whomever pays them the most money or gives them the most years. Very rarely do players make decisions on where they want to play not based on those things. And finally, I don’t see any scenario where Price comes back to this team. If they were going to make a move for a pitcher I think they would have made that move for Scherzer last year, and they didn’t.
In terms of the trades they made, every single one of those players made a huge impact within the first week. The one position player they got cranked two homers in his first game in the Tigers organization, and three of the starters had good first starts at various levels. That couldn’t continue, and we saw that last night with Norris getting shelled by the Red Sox. He has a promising future, so I hope people don’t start freaking out about it.
A lot of people have mentioned that the Tigers are between 3 and 4 games out of a wildcard spot. That is true. However, there are a handful of teams they need to leapfrog to get that spot. That is the difficult part. It would be better for them to be three times as far out with no one between them then their current scenario. Basically, you have to expect that all of those teams to go on losing streaks at the same time that you go on a winning streak and then you have to expect that no one gets hotter than you down the stretch. Difficult. They will not make the playoffs. I believe that was my pre-season prediction but I don’t remember and I don’t want to look it up right now, I’m too disheartened by the way the season has unfolded to do it.
And finally, the Tigers parted ways with one of the very best GMs in the game, Dave Dombrowski. He caught a lot of shit in this town even though he is known throughout the league for fleecing everyone in every trade. Someone actually mentioned to me yesterday that they wished the Tigers had not traded Andrew Miller, a guy who pitched 74 innings for the Tigers at a 5.78 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. It would take him five more seasons before he finally posted a sub-3.50 ERA out of the bullpen. And an additional two more years before he became the dominate closer he is today. The Tigers would have lost contractual control of him last year and had to have competed with the Yankees in signing him. Instead, he was traded for Cabrera who only did little things like, win two MVP awards, be made an all-star six times, win the batting title three times (oh and he is currently leading the league right now as well), winning the RBI crown twice, the homer crown twice and a triple crown once. And that isn’t even considering any serious stats. So how anyone could justify not making the Miller-Cabrera trade is beyond me. But alas, this is the mind of the Detroit sports fanatic.
Under the reign of Dombrowski, the Tigers were good. But they had flaws. He did not turn drafted players into major league talent at a very good rate. He did, however, turn drafted players into trade bait for established players all the time. He over paid almost every player that ever had a good season for the Tigers. There were some terrible contracts under Randy Smith (GM prior to Dombrowski), and there have been some terrible contracts for the Red Wings as well. This might be much more of an Illitch thing than a Dombrowski thing, I don’t know. And of course they never won it all. I didn’t geerally agree with how the team was built, but I appreciated the fact that I could generally see a game plan and a pretty good execution of it.
I loved Dombrowski. I wish he was still here. But he will catch on with another team soon.
Now we have Avila. A few years ago Avila was signed to a non-compete contract that prevented him from even interviewing with another team until he was released from his contract. He was paid like a GM then and this made it seem like they were certainly grooming him Illitch did a similar thing with Jim Nill under Ken Holland. However, Nill got tired of waiting and left for Dallas.
I think Avila should be fine. But time will tell. This offseason should be fun.