Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why No Detroit Tigers Trade is No Problem

The Major League Baseball trade deadline came and went today at 4:00 Eastern Daylight Time, and despite all the rumors, speculation, and innuendo, and all of the names, from Eric Gagne, to Jack Wilson, to Octavio Dotel, engulfing the Detroit Tigers, all was quiet on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull (or, make that the corner of Montcalm and Witherell). And with all due respect to the numerous knowledgeable posters at MLive.com's Detroit Tigers Forum and my buddy Kurt from Mack Avenue Tigers, I don't think the Tigers holding steady was the wrong move. In fact, I think it was the right move given the circumstances surrounding the 2007 trade market.

Do the Detroit Tigers need help in the bullpen? Absolutely. And that help is just as likely to come from the return of Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya as it is from Octavio Dotel or Al Reyes or anybody else the Tigers may have traded for. And the Tigers didn't have to mortgage their future (or, give up anybody in fact) to get one of the most fear-inducing relievers in the league (Zumaya) and a set-up man who, when healthy, is well, halfway decent at least (Rodney).

Dotel, like Zumaya and Rodney, has missed most of the season due to injury and has a career ERA near 4.00. And some of the trades I saw speculated about this morning, and the prospects Tigers fans willing to trade away, really stunned me. I saw Jordan Tata, Omar Infante,, and Jair Jurrjens all speculated as being part of various packages. After the Humberto Sanchez trade last season, giving away Tata and Jurrjens would decimate the deep starting pitching depth General Manager Dave Dombrowski has painstakingly built. I don't blame him for not wanting to give it all away for a reliever who is simply a rent-a-player and may not be any more effective than players we already have.

I know people are uncomfortable with Fernando Rodney. Yes, he's erratic. And not tremendously dependable. But he's effective (at times) and we only don't like him because we see him on a daily basis. Trust me, most relievers are like Rodney. We only think they are better because we don't see them walk batters on a daily basis. And yes, we don't know how successful Joel Zumaya will be when he returns in August. But given how dominating Zumaya can be, why make a panic move which may turn out to be unnecessary? And give up significant pieces of your future, or significant pieces of even bigger future trades, in order to do it?

Yes, the Boston Red Sox got better today with the addition of Eric Gagne. Their bullpen now, innings 7-9, may be one of the best in the last century (and that's not much of an exaggeration) but the Tigers and Tigers fans should not be worrying about Boston. Let's focus on winning the AL Central (and let's remember, Cleveland did not make a move today either) and when or if we face Boston, we worry about it then. For now, I have faith in the Detroit Tigers, just as they are. A trade would have been helpful, but it had to be the right trade, for the right player, and for the right price.

Sometimes the best move you make, is the move you don't make.

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