The Winter Meetings are next week, and we know, as always, the Tigers could be a major player in trade talks and rumors. However, for the first time in a while, the Tigers will be on the opposite side of the rumor mill–gauging interest in its own established players in return for prospects. So, I wanted to look at the past ten years and see what the Tigers have done in terms of transactions in what is usually MLB’s busiest week of the offseason.
Now, all of these moves are under Dave Dombrowksi and/or Al Avila. Even when Dombrowksi was the GM of the Tigers, Avila was the assistant GM and it would him who would be calling other assistant GMs trying to see if certain players were available. So, we can kind of get a sense for what kind of deals Avila has been a part of throughout the last decade.
- Traded cash for reliever Eduardo Campusano
- Signed reliever Jose Mesa to a one-year deal
- Signed reliever Bobby Seay
- Traded six prospects including two of the top prospects in the MLB, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller for Miguel Cabrera in what is one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of the game
- Traded reliever Jose Capellan for reliever Denny Bautista
- Signed reliever Francis Beltran
- Traded outfielder Matt Joyce for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson
- Traded pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo for catcher Gerald Laird
- Signed Adam Everett
- In another blockbuster trade, the Tigers traded Curtis Granderson to New York and Edwin Jackson to Arizona in a three-team trade in which the Tigers acquired Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Daniel Schlereth, and Phil Coke
- Signed pitcher Brad Thomas to a one-year deal
- Re-signed outfielder Magglio Ordonez to a one-year $10 million deal
No major moves were done in the Winter Meetings of 2011. They were reportedly in on Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but when Victor Martinez unexpectedly was lost for the season, the Tigers jumped on Prince Fielder in January.
- Re-signed SP Anibal Sanchez to a five-year deal $80 million deal
- Signed catcher Brayan Pena
- Signed outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo
- Traded Doug Fister for Robbie Ray, Ian Krol, and Steve Lombardozzi
- Signed Joe Nathan
- Signed Rajai Davis
- Signed Ezequiel Carrera
- Signed Joba Chamberlain
- Traded Domingo Leyba and Robbie Ray for Shane Greene
- Traded Rick Porcello for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier
- Traded Jonathan Crawford and Eugenio Suarez for Alfredo Simon
- Signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia
- Signed Mark Lowe
- Traded Chad Green and Luis Cessa for reliever Justin Wilson
So, what can we see from all these transactions? Well, for one thing, the Tigers gave a lot of prospects away. But in the deals where the Tigers traded away veteran talent?
The Curtis Granderson trade was made at a time when the Tigers were in a similar situation as this year–they wanted to cut payroll and get younger. Curtis was a fan favorite, but the Tigers acquired Rookie of the Year runner-up Austin Jackson as well as to-be 2x Cy Young winner Max Scherzer in the process.
Trading Doug Fister, on the other hand, wasn’t particularly as good. Robbie Ray has shown some promise in the majors in 2016, but the Tigers swapped him out for starter-turned-reliever Shane Greene, who was inconsistent in 2016. The Tigers did turn Ian Krol in a strong 2016 season from Cameron Maybin who they then turned into prospect Victor Alcantara earlier this offseason.
As they assess their options, the Tigers are most likely only going to part with outfielder J.D. Martinez this offseason. Similar to Curtis Granderson, Martinez is a fan favorite, but if the Tigers can get anywhere close to the return for Granderson, I think it’s good for the Tigers organization to get below the luxury tax threshold while at the same time opening up spots for the youngster. The Tigers may not get back a center fielder in return like they did then with Austin Jackson, but the Tigers can make a similar move and start a similar young athletic center fielder in JaCoby Jones and see what he can do.
We’ll just have to see what Al Avila has up his sleeve this year. With the CBA negotiations not progressing, though, we might not see a whole lot of movement from the Tigers–or any team for that matter next week.