AL Central Notes: Willingham, Indians, Tigers

While many clubs are averse to making trades within their own division, the Twins and Royals showed little hesitation to do so last night when Minnesota traded Josh Willingham to Kansas City in exchange for right-hander Jason Adam. The Twins, in fact, seemingly have little qualms about dealing to division rivals. Within the past five years, they’ve traded Francisco Liriano to the White Sox, Delmon Young to the Tigers and acquired Carl Pavano from the Indians. They also flipped Jim Thome back to Cleveland and Jamey Carroll to the Royals for players to be named later/cash considerations. Of course, most of these are fairly minor trades, but the Pavano trade and the Liriano trade have had lasting effects on the organization (Minnesota acquired Eduardo Escobar in the Liriano deal).

Here’s more on the most recent intra-division trade and the rest of the AL Central…

  • Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and second baseman Brian Dozier about Willingham’s departure. Gardenhire said the move was tough for the clubhouse to swallow, while Dozier called Willingham his mentor and best friend. As Berardino points out, Willingham currently has the eighth-most games of any active player that has never made a postseason appearance. Berardino was also among the reporters on hand to speak with Willingham himself in the Twins’ clubhouse following the announcement of his trade (All video links).
  • Zack Meisel of the Cleveland Plain Dealer began an excellent series by taking an in-depth examination of the Indians‘ analytics department and the contributions they make to the baseball operations department. Director of analytics Keith Woolner has been with the team since 2007 and has seen the Indians add two other analytics experts to his side based on the value they felt Woolner added. “There’s a lot of conversations out there, most of which never amount to anything,” Woolner said, “but you don’t know which ones are going to come to fruition, so you spend a lot of time evaluating a bunch of possibilities … so that when that one comes along, you have the information in place so that [GM Chris Antonetti] can make the best decision.”
  • Justin Verlander tells Chris Iott of that he had the “worst” stuff of his career in Monday night’s disastrous one-inning start. Verlander, who will undergo an MRI on his shoulder, said he’s nervous to learn the results, but his shoulder has been bothering him for a while of late. In a second piece, Iott looks at the sudden dearth of pitching for the Tigers, with Verlander ailing and Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria hitting the DL. Iott points out that Detroit, which already has two rookies in its rotation for the time being, will have a pair of double-headers later this month, which could cause them to dip even deeper into a shallow pool of talent. While Iott doesn’t write this, it’d be surprising to me if GM Dave Dombrowski wasn’t actively looking to acquire further bullpen and/or rotation depth.

12 Responses to AL Central Notes: Willingham, Indians, Tigers Leave a Reply

  1. bigbadjohnny 12 months ago

    Tigers need help…….not looking good at all.

  2. Ray Ray 12 months ago

    I have never understood why teams even think about not trading within their own division. You are taking away both prospects and need from a division rival. For example, the Yankees are not going to ignore filling a need just because all 4 division rivals won’t trade them a pitcher. There are 25 other teams that would be fine with trading with them. On top of that, there is always the chance that the player they eventually do acquire is better than the one you were going to give them. It’s just ego if you ask me.

    • GetToTheChoppa 12 months ago

      It’s not so much that they’re they are reluctant to do so it’s that they expect more from division rivals than they would non division, non conference teams. Hurt them as much as you can. Pecking order has always been for AL NL, rest of AL, division. If the division rival gives you the best deal then teams have been known to take it. Case in point if the Yankees offered the Rays Judge, Severino, and others they may have taken it over the deal they got in Smyly, Franklin. Adames. The rays know the Yankees could afford Prices salary while other teams were limited in what they’re willing to spend.

    • If you trade a position player to your rival, you run the risk of having a guy face you 19 times a year who trained with your pitching staff and knows them better than someone who didn’t. Is that ego?

      • Ray Ray 12 months ago

        No that’s not ego, but that’s also not true in modern baseball either in my opinion. Before free agency when many players stayed with an organization for their whole career, I could see your way being the right way. But now, just think about all of the different players that have played for both the Yankees and Red Sox or both the Dodgers and Giants in their career.

        You also run the risk of that position player signing as a free agent
        with that same team and not getting anything out of the deal. Plus chances are if the guy was THAT good, you wouldn’t be trading him anyway.

        • What isn’t true? Teams don’t want to trade players that they’ll have to face regularly. That’s why David Price isn’t a Blue Jay.

          There’s a couple players who have played for the Yanks/Sox and Giants/Dodgers back to back. Damon, Ellsbury, and Uribe come to mind. In none of those instances did a trade between the two teams ever make sense. Drew made sense as a salary dump, but the Sox are also in a rare position this year.

          • Ed Duffy 12 months ago

            True Rev, with Drew however, even though they saved dollars it was more about getting Boegarts back to SS to better evaluate him there and get Middlebrooks some AB’s to look at him more too, in hopes that his value increases for an off season deal. It is all about next year.

    • Red_Line_9 12 months ago

      I honestly feel the “no trading within the division” idea is largely driven by media sources. Most teams deal within their division when it’s applicable. Of course, it makes little sense to deal major non rental stars…

      • Ray Ray 12 months ago

        I think so too, but ESPN has to have something to talk about. The last “major” non rental star traded within a division that I can think of is Ian Kennedy last year. He’s not a true major star, but he was one season removed from a top 5 Cy Young season. That one worked out okay for both sides and made some sense for both sides.

        • Red_Line_9 12 months ago

          It’s likely percentages at play….there are more average players to deal than stars. Stars typically don’t move year to year as often either…not until contract year. Last year Detroit did deal Avisail Garcia to Chicago

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