Category Archives: trades

The trade.

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VerlandertoAstros3

Images by Samara Pearlstein.

Thirteen years. That’s how long Justin Verlander had been with the Tigers. In this era of constantly shifting lineups, it seems unreal to think that we had a pitcher stick with us for over a decade. ‘Ace’ is a term that can be applied one year and gone the next, but if he wasn’t always our ace in these latest years, Verlander was at least still an anchor of sorts. Through all the drama and the frustrations and the big wins and near misses, the no-hitters and the playoff games, the scorching fastball (and the fastballs that later weren’t quite so scorching), he was a constant.

Verlander was 21 when he was drafted by the Tigers. Now he’s 34. He grew up with this team (with all the milestones and bumps in the road that implies), and we have a generation of Tigers fans who grew up with him.

I’m not saying anything revolutionary here, and I’m not saying anything you haven’t already read or heard in a million other places. This week Justin Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros for prospects Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers, and Daz Cameron.

This is not a great year for the Tigers. (Understatement.) The team was kind of already there, but with this trade the Tigers have firmly parked their butts in the unpleasantly dank and pee-scented subway station that is rebuilding (if rebuilding was a place). The Astros, after an abysmal stretch in the early 2010s, are now gearing up for a legitimate playoff push. Black is white, dogs are cats, the world is a strange place.

Nobody– neither the Tigers nor Verlander– is helped by his continued presence, and the continued presence of his contract, in Detroit. This should be just one more step in the Tigers’ plans to get that gross rebuilding subway’s doors closed so it can pull out of the station. And I think a lot of us are sort of numbed by this season anyway.

But thirteen years is a long time. Justin Verlander’s tenure on the Tigers was old enough to be Bar Mitzvahed. It was an adult member of the baseball community. We can agree that it is time to hand him over to a team that can maybe get him that ring, but we can still be sad about it. I think a lot of us will be. I know I am. (RIP my last remaining current-team-accurate Tigers jersey.)

Anyway, this is a bunch of words to say what the cartoon really says on its own. Good luck in Houston, JV. We may know it’s time, but Detroit will still miss you.

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The newest Tiger is not a tiger.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Honest truth: after the Red Sox/A’s trade earlier today that saw Jon Lester and Yoenis Cespedes swapping sides, I was not expecting too much from the Tigers. The trade deadline loomed ever nearer as the afternoon wore on, and I figured, eh, Mr. Dombrowski made that solid attempt to shore up the bullpen in the acquisition of Joakim Soria; that’s probably as big a move as we’re going to make. Sure, if all goes as planned we will be having to deal with Oakland in a real way come autumn, but we’ll tackle that big ol’ elephant when we get to it.

Mr. Dombrowski contemplated this line of reasoning, and he cackled a mad cackle, and he rejected it. Hell naaaaaw! he almost certainly yelled to his subordinates. We’re not goin down that easy! Bring me my phone! Bring me the scouting reports! Bring me my set of giant brass balls! Bring me a slice of Little Caesars pizza!

Armed with these essentials, he set in motion a series of moves that ended with Austin Jackson going to Seattle and Drew Smyly going to Tampa Bay and DAVID PRICE coming to Detroit.

This trade was so unanticipated by everyone that Austin Jackson had to be pulled from the field, in the middle of the game, and told that he was no longer a Tiger. Another honest truth: that sucks. That is a hard way to go, and I am sure that if there had been a saner way to do it, the Tigers would have preferred to do it in that saner manner. But Mr. D saw an opportunity (and/or a necessity) that, even as little as a day earlier, he had not seen. He decided that it had to be done, and so it was.

The Tigers now have the kind of rotation to make a pretty good lineup tremble, and a weak lineup weep copiously. May this be a bulwark against the inconsistency of the bats, now and as we totter unsteadily on into maybepossibly the postseason.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, David Price does not come alone! As you may already know, David Price has a FRENCH BULLDOG named ASTRO. David Price is obsessed with Astro and likes to take him places like the dugout and on the field for BP and on road trips and basically every kind of place. This is potentially HUGE news, just ENORMOUS, SUPER IMPORTANT news, and I am going to say right now:

Dear Brad Ausmus and the Detroit Tigers:

Please allow David Price to bring Astro into the clubhouse and onto the field and on the occasional road trip, for the good of the team and the well-being of your brand new pitcher and for the PURE JOY of the fans. Thank you.

hugs and kisses,
Roar of the Tigers.

a new set of National fists


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

All of a sudden, Doug Fister is being traded to the Nationals for two left-handed pitchers with short names (Ian Krol, Robbie Ray) and one utility dude with a long name (Steve Lombardozzi). All of these cats are on the young side. None of them are everyday players: Krol is a reliever, Lombardozzi is an off-the-bench type, and Ray is a small child who has yet to pitch above AA. None of them are immediate impact players. None of them are tall majestic creatures with Hulk Hands. None of them have hilarious names. This is the trade that has been made.

They are all much cheaper, even combined, than Doug Fister alone, and this will theoretically allow the Tigers to take care of some outstanding financial business, such as sealing up Max Scherzer in the Tiger vault, and the acquisition of a Real Live Human Closer. So there is that.

I have been trying awfully hard to come up with a way to make this seem like a substantial win for the Tigers, and I just can’t quite do it. I guess I understand, in that I want the things Mr. Dombrowski wants (Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, winning, striped polo shirts, etc), and retaining Mister Fister would make that more difficult? I guess? Striped polo shirts don’t grow on freebie trees, you know.

But I am not going to lie, I’m having a lot of trouble with this one. I am sure you could do some sort of complicated mathematic gymnastics to make a lefty reliever and a lefty prospect-ish pitcher and a scrappy utilikilt of a National multiply by one another to equal an established starting pitcher with a solid gold headline name like Doug Fister. Alas, I am but a humble person-who-draws-stuff. I am not good at math, especially not the fancy creative math that involves multiple blackboards and dramatic camera angles during movie montages about misunderstood genius, and I strongly suspect that it is this very type of math that is required to make sense of this trade from a Tigers perspective.

Deep breath, in DD we trust, keep calm and blog on. Here’s Brad Ausmus as a Maccabee. It’s still Chanukah, you know. And this news may have disrupted my Chanukah cartoon-posting plans just a bit, but we can still have this tonight.

THERE HAS BEEN A TRADE


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

This is an accurate depiction of me right now, even down to the flashing emergency vehicle lights, as an ambulance went screaming by my apartment in full wail at the very moment I received the textual message informing me of this trade. For a brief moment I thought the local EMTs had started employing some sort of precog system and they were coming for me.

Let’s take a look at this in bald print:

PRINCE FIELDER HAS BEEN TRADED TO THE TEXAS RANGERS FOR IAN KINSLER.

Additional facts, or semi-facts:

–Prince Fielder did not perform well in the postseason. The reasons, or potential reasons, for this do not even fall under the category of ‘semi-facts’ at the moment, so let us not even go there. But that he did not hit the baseball in a timely fashion, that is known and documented.

–Ian Kinsler has been to the All Star Game three times.

–Ian Kinsler is signed through 2017, with an option on 2018. Prince Fielder is signed through 2020. Ian Kinsler is owed $62 million, or $69 million if that option is picked up. Prince Fielder is owed $168 million. That is a difference of $106 or $99 millions of American dollars.

–The Tigers will also be sending the Rangers $30 million, according to the Freep. This is not exactly getting out of Prince’s contract scot-free, but given the amounts in play it is close enough to be functionally astonishing.

–Therefore we must now come to grips with the fact that Dave Dombrowski might be a real life actual wizard.

There are many things that can happen now– the extra money freed up for the Tigers should allow them to extend Max’n’Miggy, and maybe pursue some much-needed help in other areas. There are now newly created needs, like someone who can intimidate opposing pitchers into not avoiding Miguel Cabrera’s place in the lineup, and someone who can be Miguel Cabrera’s new BFF. We have already seen what life is like without a functional Prince backing up Cabrera, but we can’t go forward with some weakling who won’t command pitcherly respect in the cleanup spot; that way a Major League record for intentional walks lies.

I don’t know. In all honesty, this move came so completely out of the Detroit navy blue for me that I am still too stunned to react in any intelligent way to it.

I will however say this:

I am going to miss Prince Fielder. Not Postseason 2013 Prince. But the fun, huggable, mysterious-handshake-doing Prince, with his desire to always run hard down the line, even when it meant jettisoning his batting helmet into center field with a slide. The Prince Fielder who went into a potentially terrible situation, with the shadow of his father still looming large in Detroit, with as good a will as one could ever hope for. The Prince Fielder who seemed to have fun on the field; the nacho-stealing Prince Fielder. The Prince Fielder who saw a Tigers fan hanging out quietly behind the dugout during batting practice on a cool July day in Boston and went out of his way to go up and ask if she wanted anything signed.

This is a very different Prince from the one we’ve been hearing about, with greater or lesser degrees of accuracy, in whispers and half-statements and flights of speculative fancy ever since the postseason. But that’s the one I’m going to think about when I think about Prince Fielder in Detroit. Haters to the left.

Now, Ian Kinsler…

Let’s just say it’s going to be, for the first time in a VERY long time, an extremely special Chanukah here at RotT. Get psyched.

All of a sudden: a real trade.

Sure, there was the acquisition of Jose ‘Middle Relief Master’ Veras. But it seemed like that was the only thing the Tigers were going to do before the trade deadline this year. There were no solid rumors floating around out there. Dave Dombrowski was making sounds with his mouth that were something along the lines of, “That’s all, folks.” All appeared quiet on the midwestern front.

Then, suddenly: BAM! TRADE!!!!

This business is not, at time of blog-posting, finalized or confirmed. But the story right now has Avisail Garcia going to the Wrong Sox, Jake Peavy going to the Red Sox, and Jose Iglesias coming to the Tigers. The idea, for the Tigers, would seem to be that Iglesias could step into the shortstop position if/when Jhonny Peralta finds himself suspended for certain allegedly steroid-based alleged business connections.

I do not like the idea of Miguel Cabrera’s own personal mini-me ending up on the wrong side of Chicago… but I do find the idea of Iglesias in Detroit intriguing. One might even say pleasing. For all the baseball reasons, and also, more importantly, because he is already BFF with Little Victor.

I took those in Boston, in 2011. I can only assume that their friendship has strengthened and grown ever since.

(Cartoons, and a very exciting tale of my recent trip to Detroit, coming soon. But the Tigers had to go and do this first.)

Fish to Cats, Cat to Fish


photos by Samara Pearlstein

Word on the Internet Street: Jacob Turner has been traded to the Marlins for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. I think there were some other minor league Cats involved too but whatever.

Initial reaction: SECOND BASE LIVES

Here is a super old photo I had of Omar Infante picking his nose.

Relevant.

I’m ok with this, more or less. Convince me otherwise, doomsayers.

Hellos and Goodbyes in Detroit


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Hello Octavio Dotel! Welcome to your MLB-record 13th different team!

He’s coming in on a one year, $3.5 million deal with an option for 2013. He’s a righty. He just turned 38 this November. He should be bouncing around the late inning/not-closing portion of the bullpen with Joaquin Benoit and Al Al. He’s been around for so long that he oozes veteran presence from his every pore, especially on hot days. He wears his socks up and thus will provide a new socks buddy for Papa Grande.

He is also Dominican, just like Benoit, Al Al, and Valverde. One nation, one bullpen. Don’t make things weird, Phil Coke.

Hello Collin Balester! I don’t know anything about you except for the fact that you can grow one heck of a mustache when you put your mind to it.

So saith Jason Beck:

The 25-year-old Balester has a big frame at 6-foot-5, and a power arm for a longer reliever.

So Rod Allen should enjoy him, at least.

However, Balester was acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals. To get him the Tigers traded away Ryan Perry. That means

Yes, Rick Porcello has been deprived of his former roommate/BFF/hetero lifemate/companion donkey. Goodbye, Ryan Perry!

In general I am a fan of these moves. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to take Dotel on for a year and see what might be left in his ancient body. Balester doesn’t seem like a wholly hopeless gamble. And Perry has the Tigers convinced that he’s a mental midget:

“There’s too much differential between his good [slider] and his bad one for me,” [Leyland] said. “He throws one of the best sliders you’ve ever seen, and then the next one’s not a good one. It’s not good at all. It’s left in the middle and it spins. There hasn’t been much in between. It’s almost an exaggeration, and it’s a little bit the same with his [fastball].”

The 24-year-old Perry pitched in 20 games over the summer for Triple-A Toledo, racking up seven saves while allowing 24 hits over 32 2/3 innings with nine walks and 30 strikeouts. Leyland said the reports from Toledo suggested that he threw his changeup with confidence in Toledo under less pressure.
Jason Beck/DetroitTigers.com

Or whatever. The point is, the team’s faith that he could slay the Inconsistency Dragon and finally access his full talent had become sadly eroded. Balester may be more of the same, but the Tigers don’t know that yet, so they can still look at him with potentialicious optimism.

The only thing I DON’T like is the FredFred angle. Without his companion donkey, I worry that he’ll get himself in a rut again– mechanical, psychological, whatever– and won’t be able to haul himself out of it because he is alone without his Ryan Perry, all alone in the world and the American League. Don’t underestimate the power of the companion donkey.

Alas, if only the companion donkey could have maintained an ERA under 5.00.

~@~never 4get~@~