Actual trades? Well, no. It’s more of a thinking-out-loud kind of thing. I do that often. People look at me funny.
Jose Valverde blew another game for the AL Central hopeful Detroit Tigers. It’s been a commonplace since his big season in 2011. The wild card teams are unlikely to come from the Central, ergo the Tigers need to win their division to return to the playoffs.
The Tigers’ bullpen is almost as bad as their defense, both of which are costing them precious runs and, therefore, games. They have 7 relievers who are worth -0.7 WAR in more than 50 IP and making matters worse, neither Alex Avila nor Victor Martinez are playing well. 84 wins took the Central last year, but this year both the Indians and the Royals are better teams and Minny just won’t go away.
The Tigers have 2 things the Jays could use: a second baseman and a starting pitcher. The Jays have a surplus of relievers who have pitched very effectively. The question is how much the Tigers value bullpen help. Both Anthopoulos and Dombrowski have important matters to consider regarding the team on the field.
Okay, here are the primary players in 2 scenarios:
- Trade #1: Steve Delabar (0.6 WAR), Juan Perez (0.6 WAR), and Darren Oliver (-0.1 WAR) for Omar Infante (1.5 WAR)
- Infante’s a good infielder who’s having a nice year with the bat
- he would solidify the Jays’ infield when Reyes returns
- Delabar and Oliver would thrive in Detroit, with it’s natural grass and spacious dimensions, and they’re both more than just righty- or lefty-specialists
- Delabar’s place in the Jays’ ‘pen is assumed by Neal Wagner, Perez is a journeyman who’s pitching very well, and Aaron Loup/Brett Cecil have already demonstrated their value as go-to lefties
- Trade #2: Steve Delabar (0.6 WAR), Juan Perez (0.6 WAR), Darren Oliver (-0.1 WAR), and AAA OF Moises Sierra for Anibal Sanchez (3.4 WAR) and AAA C Ramon Cabrera
- Sanchez’s value in a trade is mitigated somewhat by his contract, hence the swap of minor leaguers
- Sanchez is off to a terrific start—making this potential deal a little more of a stretch—but will likely settle into place behind Verlander and possibly Scherzer as the Tigers 3rd-most effective starter
- Verlander, Scherzer and Fister still give the Tigers a solid 1-2-3, and with an improved ‘pen, the efficiency and effectiveness of their rotation improves
- the Jays get a good starter and a catching prospect
The effect of a re-tooled ‘pen for the Tigers could be similar to the St. Louis Cardinals after the Jays-Cards big swap. The Jays got a 5+ Fld CF; the Cards got a championship, but the impact of the players they received declined precipitously afterward. It’s a chance you take as a GM. Some players (Edwin Jackson; Octavio Dotel; Corey Patterson) were gone after the season finished; others (Rzepczynski) just declined. Interestingly, one of the ‘pen principals in that swap, Octavio Dotel, pitches with the Tigers.
A healthy, effective starter could kick-start things for the Jays, giving them quality innings and mitigating the loss of the valuable bullpen arms. A real second baseman could solidify the infield defense, giving the Jays 2 above average (Lawrie; Infante) and 2 average defensive infielders (Reyes; Lind) when everyone’s healthy.
Which? Neither? Alternatives? Discuss.