Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Detroit Tigers trade Rick Porcello, add Alfredo Simon

Dave Dombrowski has been very busy on the final day of the 2014 Winter Meetings. What we know is that Rick Porcello is now a Boston Red Sox. Yoenis Cespedes is the Tigers new starting left fielder, and Eugenio Suarez has been moved to the Cincinnati Reds for RHP Alfredo Simon. It would also seem that the Tigers have made the choice to not resign Max Scherzer as their rotation has now been remade without him in mind. Not to say they are out on Max, but it looks less and less likely he will resign in Detroit

With these moves we now see a clearer picture of what the 2015 Tigers will look like. The starting five will be Justin Verlander, David Price, Anibal Sanchez, Alfredo Simon, and Shane Greene. That is still very strong and if JV can have a bounce back year, Sanchez stay healthier, and Price be who we think he is the starting rotation could be just slightly less dominant as it has been. Granted at this point Simon is something of a question mark. 

The Tigers have also saved a bit of money here. Porcello was set for yet another big raise in his final year of arbitration and due a huge raise following the 2015 season. He has the look of a 100 million dollar deal and the Tigers simply cannot afford to have another contract of that size. Simon is due to make less than half of what Porcello would command for next season which leaves payroll dollars to address the one issue that the Tigers brain trust as once again failed to improve...the bullpen. 

The outfield for 2015 looks like Cespedes in left. A Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose platoon in center and JD Martinez in right. That is stronger defensively that it has been and if JD can continue to show some power gives the middle of the Tigers lineup some teeth. More on that later. 

The infield will be Miguel Cabrera at first, Ian Kinsler at second, Joe Iglesias at short and Nick Castellanos at third. The fifth infielder will likely be Andrew Romine so that Hernan Perez can play everyday at Toledo and continue to develop. 

The lineup looks to be something like this:

1. Gose/Davis
2. Kinsler
3. Cabrera
4. Victor Martinez
5. Cespedes
6. JD Martinez
7. Castellanos
8. Alex Avila 
9. Iglesias 

That has a lot of potential, and on paper the middle of that lineup looks mean. However I wonder how Cespedes fits into Comerica Park and I am more than worried about his OBP and the frequency with which he strikes out. However the hope has to be having him and JD gives a little protection to both and helps both be more productive at the plate. 

Dombrowski has made another set of bold moves, and some of this is continual fall out from the disastrous Doug Fister trade of a year ago. With that being said I am mostly positive about the moves made today both in terms of production and in terms of savings to the payroll moving forward. While Dombrowski has a lot of money tied up in his stars the remainder of his roster remains flexible enough to make moves. We can complain about the state of the minor league system another time...given that with Jonathan Crawford going to the Reds means four of the top prospects of this team have now been dealt away this off season.