Detroit Tigers: Time for Dave Dombrowski to Pull His Usual Trade Deadline Magic

With the news that the Detroit Tigers are in fact not going to be sellers, its once again time for general manager Dave Dombrowski to pull is standard trade deadline magic.

The Tigers need the help, and thankfully, Dombrowski is adept at providing it.

Dombrowski has a long history of winning trades. He fleeced the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera, turned Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson into Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson and Phil Coke as well as acquiring Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Wilson (plus a prospect) for Rick Porcello.

While those trades are wonderfully lopsided (at least in the Tigers’ favor), some of the Tigers GM’s best work has come at the trade deadline. He convinced the Mariners into parting with Doug Fister essentially for a singular reliever while acquiring Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante for what has amounted to a couple of A-ball pitchers.

However, the most impressive trade on Dombrowski’s resume may have been dealing for David Price. The Tigers dealt Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly and Willy Adames (a top shortstop prospect, but not one that was going to unseat Jose Iglesias as the team’s long-term starter) in order to acquire their current ace.

It’s time for Dombrowski to work that same magic.

There’s probably skepticism in the Tigers adding at the trade deadline. If you made a dollar for every time someone lambasted Detroit’s “lack of a farm system,” you’d have more cash than Bill Gates. Still, Dombrowski acquired Price without surrendering a hoard of top prospects, and did the same with both Fister and Sanchez.

It would not be surprising to see Dombrowski dip into the Tigers’ farm system and deal for talent. The reality is that Detroit’s system isn’t nearly as bad as people think. Two of the team’s top prospects last year (Detroit was again critiqued for having a bad farm system), now rank as two of Baseball America’s top 50 prospects in. Both were traded at the deadline, but it just goes to show that the prospects in the Tigers’ system may get a bad rap.

Additionally, the system has produced notable, young big leaguers such as Devon Travis, Smyly, Avisail Garcia, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Castellanos and James McCann.

Travis is hitting .302 in his rookie year in Toronto. Smyly has been injured a good deal since heading to Tampa Bay, but owns a stellar 1.96 ERA as a member of the Rays. Like Travis, Suarez has been a force at the plate for his new team, hitting .315 with five home runs and 18 RBI in only 35 games. Garcia is a cornerstone player for the White Sox, while Castellanos is finally showing signs of being the hitter the Tigers envisioned when they drafted him. McCann has quickly established himself as one of the premier young backstops in the league, making Alex Avila and his comparatively massive salary expandable.

If anything, the trade for Price, with Adames and Smyly going the other way, has proven that Detroit’s system is underrated. While it is unlikely that consensus top prospect Steven Moya is moved, the team has a glut of minor league catchers and relievers that may interest teams. The Tigers are set behind the plate with McCann and have Bryan Holaday in Triple-A. They could deal Avila, or top catching prospects Grayson Grenier, Shane Zeile or Arvicent Perez. Infield prospect Javier Betancourt (Adames’ former double-play partner) could also be dealt in the right trade given not only Iglesias and Ian Kinsler’s presences, but also the presence of two-way infield prospect Dixon Machado.

Regardless of who is traded, it’s time for Dombrowski to slightly rejig the team in an attempt to claim the World Series. The Tigers have the offense to succeed in October, and can look to their division-rival Royals as an example of a team that (last year) made a second-half run all the way to Game Seven.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Detroit Tigers: Series Against Mariners is a Golden Opportunity

Things aren’t going according to plain in Detroit. Not a single soul thought the team would be below .500 this far into the season. Sure, the starting pitching would be taking a slight step back, but the defense would be much better, as would the bullpen. And oh yeah, the offense would still be dynamite.

But the Tigers started to miss breaks, for lack of a better term (you know, the opposite of catching breaks). Victor Martinez struggled out of the gate before missing a chunk of time on the disabled list. Justin Verlander was on the DL for the first two months of the season and has been up-and-down upon returning. Both Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene scuffled mightily after encouraging starts. Anibal Sanchez struggled initially (before settling down) and Miguel Cabrera is on a long, injury induced break.

Yeah, things aren’t great in Motown.

Throw in the potential free agent departures of David Price and Yoenis Cespedes as well as the fact that the Tigers will enter the week 10.5 games behind Kansas City in the Central and you have even more uncertainty.

But hey, the Mariners are coming to town!

The Seattle Mariners, owners of the American League’s worst record, come to Comerica for four games. Detroit went into cavernous Safeco Field just a few weeks ago and turned the pitcher’s park into a launch pad for home runs.

Detroit will face the same team that served up all those bombs, without Felix Hernandez. King Felix started at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, meaning he’ll miss the series. Instead, the Tigers will face Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, Mike Montgomery and J.A. Happ.

During the series in Seattle, the Tigers scored 14 times combined against Iwakuma, Walker and Happ. They plated five against both Iwakuma and Walker, while they put four across against Happ. Happ’s home ERA is 2.66. His road ERA is 5.59.

Throw in a suspect Seattle bullpen and an offense that is Nelson-Cruz-and-no-one-else, Detroit has a major chance to get back into the thick of things. While Detroit is 10.5 games back in the division, they are a much more manageable 4.5 games back in the wild card.

This could be there chance to get on a roll and reenter the playoff race, if not the division race. Crazier things have happened.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Players the Tigers Should Target at the Trade Deadline: Tyler Clippard and Scott Kazmir

With the baseball season reaching its annual All-Star break, things aren’t exactly ginger-peachy in the Motor City. The win-now Detroit Tigers own a .500 record at 44-44 and are nine games out of first place. Given the Tigers’ recent track record and desire to win, you’d expect them to be major buyers at the trade deadline. Here are some of the players Detroit and general manager Dave Dombrowski should target at the trade deadline.

Tyler Clippard

Since leaving the New York Yankees in an ill-fated trade for Jonathan Albaladejo, Clippard has long since established himself as one of the premier relievers in the league. Since 2009, his accomplishments include two All-Star appearances, a 32 save season (2012) and another season in which he won 11 contests without starting a game.

Clippard’s ERA since ’09 is a sparkling 2.62 over a whopping 490.2 innings. Over that span, he’s struck out 557 batters. The reliever is now in Oakland following an offseason trade, and has predictably thrived in the cavernous confines of the O.co Coliseum. He’s solidified himself as the team’s closer with 17 saves on the campaign.

Adding the reliever would do a number of things for Detroit’s bullpen. Not only would the addition of Clippard improve the group, it would also ease pressure on the other pitchers. Clippard set-up Joakim Soria in the eighth, therefore allowing Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, Al Alburquerque, Neftali Feliz and Bruce Rondon to pitch the seventh inning or earlier in situations with more margin for error and less pressure.

(RELATED: Neftali Feliz Signing a Smart Move by the Tigers)

Scott Kazmir

While Clippard would help stabilize the bullpen, Scott Kazmir would bring much needed help to a rotation that is practically begging for it.

David Price has been everything and more in terms of being the team’s ace, while Anibal Sanchez has rebound as of late (5-0 record, .182 batting average against and a 2.84 ERA over his last six starts). Outside of those two and a seemingly rebounding Justin Verlander, there are major question marks in the Detroit rotation. Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene both started out pitching superbly. The key words there are “started out”. Both have been horrible lately, and Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer haven’t been much better.

If healthy, Kazmir would fix some of those issues. He can’t clone himself, but he’d be a massive upgrade.

The former Tampa Bay ace hasn’t been racking up the wins like last season when he posted 15. Still, Kazmir has lowered his ERA by nearly an entire run, going from 3.55 last season to 2.49 this year. His walks are up slightly (2.4 last season, 3.0 per nine innings this season), but so are his strikeouts— 7.8 in 2014, 8.5 in 2015.

With only five wins on the season, Kazmir could follow a similar route to Doug Fister in terms of winning significantly more games in Detroit thanks to much-improved run support. He may not be an ace, but he’d fit in well in Motown as the Tigers’ second or third starter.

Cost:

The A’s farm system is not what it once was, specifically in the pitching department. Six of Oakland’s top eight prospects (including their top four overall, according to MLB.com) are position players. Going on that, a number of Tigers pitching prospects could interest Billy Beane and company. Angel Nesbitt showed flashes of potential, as well as a blazing fastball, during his stint in Detroit earlier this season. He may benefit a stint pitching in the O.co Coliseum. Tigers’ Futures Game representative Joe Jimenez could also interest Oakland.

(RELATED: Players the Tigers Could Move at the Trade Deadline)

The Tigers’ rotation struggles have been well documented, but one thing they have brought to light is the number of starters who are near big-league ready. Any one of Farmer, Ryan or Drew VerHagen could thrive in spacious Oakland. Detroit could also dangle infield prospect Dixon Machado.

Verdict:

While both players are rentals, but they might be the difference in the Tigers making or missing the playoffs. Beane will likely sell high on two of his better assets, but Detroit should at the very least kick the tires on both, if not acquire them outright.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 5-4 Win vs the Chicago White Sox

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the Tigers bullpen. Bruce Rondon and Joakim Soria threw scoreless innings. Rondon pitched a perfect inning, striking out one batter. Soria was a tad more dicey, allowing two hits while striking out one in the ninth to close out the game. It was Soria’s 17th save.

  • Two

The number of hits by second baseman Ian Kinsler. The infielder has been in a bit of a slump, so the fact that he collected two hits and scored a run across four plate appearances can only be viewed as a positive. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of his slump.

  • Seven

The number of strikeouts by Anibal Sanchez over seven innings. The former Miami Marlin allowed six hits, four runs (all earned), two walks and three home runs. He earned a no decision as Rondon picked up the win.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 6-0 Win vs the Chicago Cubs

  • 13

The number of hits by the Tigers as a team each Tigers hitter produced a base knock, including Josh Wilson, who is now hitting .462 since joining Detroit.

  • Six

The number of hits allowed by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez in 7.2 innings pitched. Sanchez didn’t allow any runs and struck out seven. He walked two. Hopefully this start turns things around for the former Marlin, whose ERA sits at 5.16 on the season.

  • Two

The number of hits allowed by the Tigers bullpen. Joba Chamberlain and Alex Wilson combined to hold the Cubs scoreless and finish the shutout. Both relievers have ERAs under two this season. Chamberlain’s is 1.13 while Wilson’s is 1.86.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 6-1 Loss vs the Oakland Athletics

  • Four

The number of hits by the Tigers. This is detrimental to scoring runs and winning games against most pitchers, but when you do so against Sonny Gray, you’re almost guaranteed to lose.

  • Two

The number of hits by Miguel Cabrera. The slugger’s average moved to .335 after the game. The former MVP accounted for half the Tigers hits and drove in the team’s only run.

  • 136

The number of pitches thrown by the Tigers. Anibal Sanchez had 104 of them over seven innings while Tom Gorzelanny, Angel Nesbitt and Alex Wilson combined to throw 32 pitches, spanning two innings. Gorzelanny and Nesbitt allowed two hits, two runs (both earned) and a walk in two innings after Sanchez allowed four earned runs.

Three Stats from the Detroit Tigers 2-0 Loss vs the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

  • Four

The Tigers managed a mere four hits against the Angels on Friday, an output that isn’t going to cut it against Major-League opposition. To put it in perspective, Albert Pujols had three hits by himself for the Angels.

  • Nine

The number of strikeouts by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez. For a pitcher who has struggled at times this season, Sanchez was solid against the Angels. He was a tough-luck loser after allowing two runs and six hits in seven, but the outing served as a positive moving forward.

  • Three

The number of times Miguel Cabrera reached base. The Tigers first baseman went one-for-two with two walks, one of which was intentional.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 10-8 Loss vs the Houston Astros

  • Seven

The number of runs allowed by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez. The former Florida Marlin also allowed eight hits and two walks in 5.2 innings pitched. To his credit he struck out every Houston hitter with the exception of Evan Gattis. Sanchez had 11 punch outs on the day.

  • Three

The number of relievers to keep Houston scoreless. During a game where the other team is scoring almost at will, it’s a positive get some zeros on the board from the bullpen. While the ‘pen did allow some runs, Tom Gorzelanny, Blaine Hardy and AL Alburquerque all had scoreless outings.

  • 14

The number of hits by the Tigers. Detroit also drew three walks. On most days, these totals would result in a convincing win.

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5 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 8-1 Loss to the Milwaukee Brewers

  • 10

The difference between the Brewers’ total hits (13) and the Tigers’ (3). Detroit did draw four walks, but they have to get more hits if they want to succeed.

  • Nine

The number of pitches seen by Nick Castellanos over four at-bats. There’s being aggressive early in the count, and then there’s this. The third baseman saw the fewest pitched of anyone on the team. Anthony Gose wasn’t far behind with ten pitches seen in four at-bats.

  • Seven

The number of runs allowed by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez has been brilliant in some of his starts, and then dreadful in others. He allowed more home runs (three) than strikeouts recorded (two).

  • 12

The number of pitches needed by reliever Alex Wilson to complete 1.1 perfect innings. The right-hander struck out two and now sports a 1.69 ERA on the season. Wilson has only allowed six baserunners in his last 10.2 innings. He’s struck out six over that span as well. Brad Ausmus has only used the former Red Sox pitcher in two games that the Tigers won this season. It will be interesting to see if Ausmus starts regularly using him in more important games.

  • One

The number of runs allowed by the bullpen. Wilson, Al Alburquerque and Blaine Hardy kept the Brewers off the board until Joba Chamberlain let a run in during the ninth inning.

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10 Stats from the #Detroit #Tigers 13-1 Win vs the #Minnesota #Twins

Because I missed the last game, here are twice the stats from the Detroit Tigers blowout win over the Minnesota Twins.

  • Five

The number of runs driven in by Miguel Cabrera. Miggy went yard twice and scored three runs on three hits. He went 3-for-5.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the Tigers bullpen. The ‘pen accounted for only one inning, but Al Alburquerque threw a scoreless ninth, striking out one in the process.

  • Eight

The number of innings pitched by Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez. The former Marlin was superb in a start that suggests his troubles could be behind him. Sanchez allowed five hits, a walk and a run (it was earned) to go along with nine strikeouts. He’s back.

  • Four

The number of Tigers with three or more hits. Forget multiple hits in general, Rajai Davis, Bryan Holaday, Cabrera and Ian Kinsler all had at least three base hits. Gose led the way with four.

  • One

The number of Tigers starters who didn’t score a run. That starter would be Jose Iglesias, who went 1-for-5. While he didn’t score a run, he did drive one in.

  • 20

The number of hits by the Tigers as a team, four times more than the Twins hit total.

  • 1/1

J.D. Martinez’ strikeout-to-walk ratio for the game. The slugger struck out 126 times last season compared to only 30 walks. He’s already earned 13 base-on-balls this season in only 34 games. He had 30 walks in 123 games last season. His batting average may be down, but his walk total certainly looks to be on the rise.

  • .348

Anthony Gose’s batting average on the season. Gose isn’t starting every day, but is making the most of limited playing time. The centerfielder has 16 runs scored, ten extra-base hits, and six stolen bases in only 92 at-bats.

  • 4/5

The Tigers’ strikeout-to-walk ratio on the day. By comparison, the Twins strikeout-to-walk ratio was 10/1 in favor of strikeouts.

  • .240

Nick Castellanos’ batting average after the game. Castellanos stuffed the stat sheet with two hits, two runs scored, an RBI and two walks.

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