There once was a time when Justin Verlander had only played for the Tigers. He was drafted by them with the second overall pick in 2004 and then cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball in the years that followed. He twice signed contracts that extended the club’s control over his services, once in 2010 and another in 2013. That latter contract ran through his age-36 season and was signed while the club was one of the best in the league. They were fresh off a World Series appearance in 2012 and would eventually get to a four-year streak of winning the AL Central in 2014. It wouldn’t have been outlandish to expect him to be a Tiger for life.
However, the fortunes of the franchise changed in the years after that, as they slipped into the basement of the division in 2015. They bounced back with an 86-win showing in 2016 but still missed the playoffs, then were not doing so great again in 2017. It was decided that it was time to turn things over, with the Tigers making two huge deals at the waiver deadline that year. They first traded Justin Upton to the Angels and then Verlander to the Astros. The latter deal was Verlander, a player to be named later and cash for prospects Franklin Pérez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers. The PTBNL was later reported as outfielder Juan Ramirez.
It’s now been over five years since that franchise-altering pivot. The Astros went on to win their first World Series a few months after acquiring Verlander, though that title is now forever asterisked in the minds of many baseball fans due to the trashcan-banging scandal. But subsequent contracts kept Verlander in Houston through 2022 as the club continued to be among the best in the league. They made the ALCS in each of those seasons, making it to the World Series again in 2019 and 2021 before winning their second title last year.
As for the Tigers, they have been on the opposite end of the spectrum, continually rebuilding during that entire stretch. That 86-win showing in 2016 is still their last winning season. They’ve also reaped little from those future-focused moves back in 2017. Right-hander Grayson Long, who came over in the Upton deal, topped out at Double-A and retired in 2019. The PTBNL in the deal was later reported as Elvin Rodríguez, who made seven appearances with the Tigers last year but was outrighted at season’s end and is now with the Rays on a minor league deal.
As for the Verlander deal, Pérez was generally considered the headliner at the time as he was a highly-touted prospect then. Baseball America had him in the #54 slot of their top 100 at the start of 2017 and bumped him to #35 going into 2018. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit him badly, mostly in the shoulder. He was only able to throw 19 1/3 innings in the minors in 2018 and 7 2/3 in 2019. The minor leagues were canceled by the pandemic in 2020 and then shoulder surgery wiped out 2021 for Pérez. He was released by the Tigers and re-signed, eventually tossing 25 1/3 innings in the Complex League last year but with a 9.59 ERA. He appears to still be in the organization but it’s hard to count on him for anything now after so much missed development time. He’s 25 years old and has yet to crack Double-A, outside of a brief stint at that level prior to the trade.
Cameron was also a highly-touted young outfielder, having cracked BA’s top 100 list in 2016. Though he had slipped off by the time of the trade, he was still an exciting young player. He made his way to the big leagues but couldn’t do much with the opportunity. He got into 73 major league games over the past three years but hit just .201/.266/.330 and struck out in 31.6% of his plate appearances. He was put on waivers in November, getting claimed by the Orioles and subsequently outrighted.
That leaves Rogers as the last hope for the Tigers to salvage the deal in some way. Arguably seen as the least significant piece of the deal at the time, Rogers was Houston’s #20 prospect at Baseball America coming into 2017. The catcher hasn’t been able to provide much value to the Tigers so far, but that’s not really his fault. He required Tommy John surgery in September of 2021, which wiped out his entire 2022 season. Prior to that, he was showing some positive signs in a small sample. He got into 38 games in 2021 and hit six home runs. Despite striking out in 36.2% of his plate appearances, his .239/.306/.496 was above average, resulting in a 116 wRC+.
He’s now back from that long layoff and showing encouraging signs in a small sample again. His 28.3% strikeout rate this year is still high but it’s an improvement from his previous work. He’s also nearly doubled his walked rate from 8.7% in 2021 to 15.2% this year. His .237/.370/.447 batting line on the season amounts to a 135 wRC+.
This is a tiny sample of 46 plate appearances in 15 games and will surely change. However, Rogers doesn’t need to hit like a superstar to be valuable since he’s considered a strong defensive backstop. In his limited time in the big leagues, he has four Defensive Runs Saved. Both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus gave him negative grades for his framing prior to the Tommy John but he’s in the positive range so far this year. He’s thrown out 16 of 39 attempted base stealers in his career, a 41% rate that’s well above average, though he’s nabbed just one of six this year.
Rogers’ career thus far is so limited that it’s hard to draw any meaningful conclusions. Thanks to the lost season, he has just 88 major league games under his belt despite now being 28 years old. But given his reputation as a strong defensive catcher, even something near league average offense would make him a useful contributor. He’s shown the potential to be more than that, hitting 12 home runs already in barely half a season of cumulative work. He’s yet to reach arbitration but is slated to get there this winter and is on pace to reach free agency after 2026.
It’s highly likely that the Verlander trade will eventually be seen as a big miss for the Tigers overall. Fans had to watch an iconic player win two rings elsewhere while the highly-touted young players they got in return couldn’t meet expectations and the team posted miserable results overall. But if Rogers can keep serving as a solid defender behind the plate who launches a ball over the wall every once in a while, he can keep it from going down as an utter disaster.
One of the worst trades in history
Fister for Lombardozzi & Krol was another masterpiece
The Nats also dealt Robbie Ray to the Tigers in that deal.
You gunna say this in front of A’s fans? Cmon.
And everytime I click on a player link to Baseball Reference, video ads featuring a chubby lady with a Joker smile and Verlander’s brother Ben silently run ad infinitum. Thanks, Al Avila.
The Astros rejuvenated Verlander. The Tigers had already fallen off a cliff with their coaching, developing, and medical staff. If Verlander had stayed, he’d be retired.
The year before the Astros traded for Verlander, he came in 2nd in the Cy Young voting, losing to Porcello, because the Tampa Bay writers didn’t think he was one of the Ten best pitchers and left him completely off their ballots. He was in such a funk, only the Wisdom and Coaching of the Astros could have fixed him. (I love revisionist history.)
Verlander had a 3.04 ERA and led MLB in Ks his last full season with the Tigers. He also pitched less than 28 games once with Tigers(20 games) other than his brief call up in 2005. He did not Astros coaching or medical staff. He was a workhorse while in DET and often dominate.
Wrong. Total fiction. Astro’s didn’t fix JV. Nice try though.
Verlander still needed TJ – thats a fail on the Astros side too.
Problem is Rogers only plays every other year…
One of the worst trades in history & Al Avila will go down as one of the worst GM’s in the history of all sports!
Youre way overhyping him, he’s been bad but definitely not the worst. Agreed Al is bad at GMing though, but the Tigers being forced by their owner to only draft “hard throwing big pitchers over all else” really was way more dumb than anything Avila did.
Forced by the owner? Any receipts?
It was a bad trade especially since the Tigers paid Justin Verlander’s salary but it wasn’t their worst but amongst the worst.
Billy Pierce for an old catcher for one season.
Jim Bunning for a utility player.
Hall of Famer John Smoltz for a couple of years from @ #5 aging starter.
One reason I didn’t mention John Smotz is because Doyle Alexander did what he was supposed to do in 1987. He was a world beater after he was traded. I have my doubts that if Smoltz had remained on Detroit, he would be a HOFer today. Sparky gave up on youth too easily and didn’t manage pitchers very well ever. So, the Tigers trading away Smoltz was a godsend for MLB. Most knowledgeable fans believe Sparky over managed and mis-managed the Tigers during the playoffs against the Twins.
That is a Dombrowski philosophy. It works. The saying is you can’t teach a fastball. It had nothing to do with ownership.
True. You absolutely cannot teach a fastball. Period.
“It works” – that’s a lie. He only has 2 rings and those rings werent from drafting well. It never worked with Detroit. They got blessed with Verlander and then went insane trying to find another one of him, even succeeding with getting Scherzer but still the overall philosophy stinks and doesnt work at all.
Its not “the saying is you cant teach a fastball” its “pitching is an art form, far different from throwing heat”. You can say “you cant teach a fastball” yeah and no one who throws a fastball even knows how to do it anymore – if you need TJ, you arent pitching, you are throwing. You are 100% wrong in every part of your reply guy comment.
Rules and then many exceptions to the Rules.
SF Giants starter Tim Lincecum was a relatively small pitcher.
His father taught him that TECHNIQUE could help him pitch way beyond his size and prior skill level (like to multiple World Series Championships),
Not even close even keeping it to just MLB
Maybe BA isn’t a good judge of talent??
Big Miss? This was a disaster for the Tigers.
Why this trade is bad… if you look at all the homegrown talent that have came up with the Astros since then. They could have snagged something to build on – but then again Detroit could have ruined em.
I’ve been saying this all along.
Motor City Beach Bum
Never should have let Verlander go. Rogers has looked good this year…you could make an argument he has been their best player so far. Even if he becomes an all star for a run of years, which is unlikely, it’s still a bad trade.
Verlander made it known publicly that he had no interest being part of any “rebuild”.
So, in the end. For the pitcher of a generation. Al Avila got the Tigers a backup catcher, in Jake Rodgers. Thanks, Al!
He’s the starting Catcher, but thanks for playing.
Fernando Ringworm Jr.
So they would have been better off paying Verlander $28m/yr to mope around about playing for a rebuilding team and hurt their draft position for 2 years and then losing him for a comp pick?
In fairness, Al Avila would have made terrible draft picks too.
I mean… it’s not as bad as Josh Fields for Yordan Alvarez
Yeah that was brutal – like the Cardinals dealing Alcantara and Gallen for Ozuna.
Or the Orioles dealing Schilling, Finley and Harnisch to the Astros for Glenn Davis
Jeff Bagwell trade too.
Can’t tell from your post, but Jeff Bagwell was traded from Boston not Detroit
Great article! Well done Trade Rumors. Its always fun to see how these deals pan out after many years have passed. Hope Rogers is the guy that saves some value for these star crossed Tigers!!!
Eric Olson 2
The Pirates got similar lumps of coal from Astros in the Gerrit Cole trade.
And gave up a lot of good players for Chris Archer on an obvious downswing. Not a good decade for the Bucs.
Musgrove is good. They just didn’t hang onto him.
Fair article, but I don’t see anything about the salary expense they passed on to Houston. From the business side, that’s a substantial savings, much needed as they headed into a rebuild. Those are pretty lean years in terms of revenue.
Good point. I suppose the upshot here is the Tigers have not done much well in the rebuild so far. Skubal getting injured has hurt, but expecting Cameron to be the cornerstone of that trade was not well thought out.
I lived in Houston at the time and the only thing going for Cameron at the time was that his dad was a pretty good MLB player.
The Tigers paid 8 million to the Astros for each year still on the contract too.
Terrible trade, but not one of the top 3 most lopsided.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Nice write up- and thanks for the reminder. Forgot all about the garbage can thingie with the Astros. Wonder what happened to those kids. They still in the sport?
Love these trade reviews you guys have been doing
The JV trade was a necessity at the time. We didn’t need him, the team was destined for failure when the big stars all got too old. If Jake Rogers plays to 8-12 total WAR before reaching FA in 2026, I’d say it’s a huge win for the Tigers. The guy seems like a legit player to me.
They would have dumped Cabrera and his contract if they could have.
Eric Olson 2
No different than what Houston sent to the Pirates for Gerrit Cole. A big bag of nothing.
That Joe Musgrove guy is pretty good…
Verlander would have been wasted here, and it was a favor to him to be traded. A last place team don’t need a ace pitcher at the price. When they moved him Miggey was their only hitter, and they burned him trying to nurse Victor to play out his years as D.H. Rodgers is playing well, and he looks good. Looks to be the best catcher we’ve had in a very long time.
This last year of Miguel finally seems like the start of the new era. I like these new guys Harris brought in, and the team feels more livelier than in the past. Sure a team full of hitters who go 1 for 4 or 5 don’t seem so, but they are playing up from those 9-29 starting teams of the last few years. They are playing better than this fan expected, so we’ll see what the draft holds, and the future moves, but they seem to be moving in a positive direction for a change.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
Yep. That .391 winning percentage is impressive……
I think.they are better.than that but still…the truth is, it’s not how you play the game…it’s if you win or lose.
I’m a good person and it is no solace to know that. I wish my parents would have raised me to be nasty, like my peers.were to me, like their parents raised them to be, because at the end,.my life has been pretty awful. The people who bullied me, had good lives because they were raised to be greedy and selfish.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
The point being, buying FLUFF is useless. Mr. Illich makes a truckload of money
..at least TRY TO WIN a dmn World Series already.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
And I not saying Mr. Illich raised Chris to be greedy and selfish, I was referring to the people in my life.
Verlander had to agree to waive his no trade, which limited who Al could trade him to and what they could get back. The trade to Houston was not the Tigers best option, just the best that would get the no trade waived.
As to Harris’ new guys, Maton is a hitting below the Mendoza line. Vierling is a fast runner who seems to be a poor baserunner. Sands is not hitting at AAA. Lorenzen hasn’t gone 5 innings. Fetters is doing a great job with the bullpen, in spite of some questionable use by Hinch. Oh wait, he was added under Avila. I forgot I am not allowed to talk about things he did right.
I think the whole story of it being the last minute and Verlander having to think about it was made up. I think it was concocted to prevent him from looking like a traitor. There’s no doubt he loved his time and the fans in Detroit. There’s also no doubt (in my mind) he wanted out. I’m glad he was able to get his ring.
Al Avila not getting love (or disgust) as the worst GM of all time in all sports is quite boggling.
He wins that dishonor in a landslide! Even in a city that suffered through Matt Millen and Bob Quinn, and now Troy Weaver, it’s Avila all day.
You just don’t see peer GM’s openly mocking one of their own. That’s Avila’s unique claim to infamy.
The most noxious combo of arrogance and incompetence imaginable. Everything he touched turned to….well, Mr. Hanky would be the most apt nickname for the guy.
You must be new if you think Avila is the worst GM of all time in all sports.
You must be clueless if you don’t, which makes you wrong 2x here.
Avila was just clueless. Quinn was a clueless and arrogant ass who thought he was the smartest person in the room. Teez Tabor and Jelani Tavai… Weaver is still working but his window is closing.
Matt Millen was literally the biggest joke in the NFL for 7 years. Avila was just some guy that wasn’t good at his job. There’s really no comparison here.
Try the Reds trading Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees for 4 bags of magic beans that never sprouted. Or trading Tony Perez and Will Mcenaney to Montreal for Woody Fryman and Dale Murray
Verlander >>>>>>>>> Chapman.
And the Tigers really didn’t get much more than 4 bags of magic beans either.
Feel in hindsight like Red Sox trading Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson beats most “bad” trades
The Sox made a few clunkers in those days:
The aforementioned Bagwell for Anderson trade
Phil Plantier to the Padres for Jose Melendez
Billy Hatcher and Paul Quantrill to the Phillies for Wes Chamberlain
Scott Cooper and Corey Bailey to the Cardinals for Mark Whiten and Rheal Cormier (though Cormier was decent)
Mark Whiten to the Phillies for Dave Hollins (Hollins would only play 5 games for the Sox)
Thankfully the tide started to turn after the great Derek Lowe/Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb fleecing of the Mariners in 1997
Yet another case of why not to get enamoured with prospects. If you can get proven talent to win now then do it.
That only works for teams in a “win now” mode. The Tigers contended for a decade doing that, and ended up with nothing in their farm.
They simply should have traded Miggy instead period.
You obviously do not understand the value of Cabrera to the franchise, he is the only draw. His contract was a huge financial winner at a cost of tanking for years. He could never have been traded. The ballpark would have become a ghost town like Pittsburgh or Cinci.
Also, once signed to his current contract, Miggy had no surplus value, and a no trade. The offers would have been minimal.
The stadium isn’t empty?
Say what you may, Al was a horrible GM. Al got taken on 90% of his trades. He was a disaster when signing free agency. Even with Al drafting in the top ten each year the minors league has only produced five or six major league players, and no All Star caliber players. Of course, another guy who should shoulder some of blame is Chris Ilitch. He should had replace Al a couple of years earlier.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
Fans said at the time,.less bodies, higher ratings…..missed Tucker, missed Whitley. Perez and Rogers could still work out. I just can’t believe he wasn’t even able to trade Goodrum and Rogers to the Pirates……
Former Owner Mike Ilitch let his emotions get the best of him when he fired Dave Dombrowski for recommending a retooling or maybe a rebuild of that aging Tigers team that badly needed an injection of young, up and coming talen.
If Illitch had shown some patience and let Dave Dombrowski make those
trades, then the Tigers would have been able to do a “reload” with multiples of great, young talent and would have been back in pennant contention in 3-4 years maximum.
Dombrowski’s reputation of being on the good side of most of his trades would have produced for the Tigers much higher yields of great, young major league and top minor league talent.
Al Avila was a great scout, but he was not a great GM.
His trade negotiating skills were not on Dombrowski’s level of high returns of talent.
Some of Avila’s international signings and trades may still pan out, but the Verlander deal will never be a win for the Tigers.
At the time Scherzer and his agent turned down the extension in Detroit, Illitch should have allowed Dombrowski to deal young Cy Young Award winning Scherzer to
a pennant contender and get a Juan Soto like return of 5-6 top young prospects and young MLB talent.
I WAS SAYING THIS AT THE TIME IT HAPPENED.
IT IS NOT HINDSIGHT.
Dave Dombrowski’s Tigers trade returns in separate deals trading: Scherzer, Verlander, Upton, JD Martinez would have restocked the entire Tigers team with enough top, young, up and coming talent that would have made the Tigers competitive in the AL Central
And, Dombrowski WOULD NOT HAVE MISSED ON HIS DRAFT PICKS like Avila so often missed.
Dombrowski would have made the Tigers a competitive team competing for a World Series, again, faster than many think.
Your hypothetical scenario of DD rebuilding the Tigers was not likely to have come to fruition. DD was talking to other teams and pondering his career outside of Detroit.
One more: There’s no way that the Tigers could have built a contender out of the pieces they had left. They would have had to do it via free agency and it’s doubtful they would have had the financial ability to do so. Any team they built like that would have been mediocre, at best. A full tear down and rebuild was absolutely essential. DD was quite aware of this and that’s why he was plotting his move out of Detroit.
If the Illitchs had let Dave D periodically trade Tigers talent for younger talent to periodically retool the team then yes Dave D could have rebuilt the team without a full teardown(retooling like the Dodgers and Yankees, Cardinals etc have managed to do without just being big spenders and just signing all the free agents etc.
Dombrowski moved Granderson and others and took flyers on JD Martinez and others when others did see them as fits for their teams.
Dombrowski was successful in identifying players like Scherzer, Fister and many others who had their break out years after joining the Tigers..
Even if Dave Dombrowski was “looking around at other opportunities”,
It would have been much smarter for the Tigers to let Dave Dombrowski make the major trades to refill the Tigers roster and farm with with much higher returns than what was received by Avila.
Even if Dombrowski walked after making multiple major trades to retool the Tigers, the Detroit Tigers would have been in a much better place leaving the :”heavy lifting trades” to Dombrowski and then turning it over to Avila or another talented GM candidate.
I just don’t know where you got that the Illitch’s stood in the way of DD’s trades. I have to ask if you have any sort of source for that claim. Never before have I ever heard that Mike Illitch interfered like that with either GM in both of the professional franchises he owned. That was never even a rumor. To the contrary, he was lauded as a great owner who stood back with his wallet open. I’d be interested in any source you have for your claims. Thanks.
Actually, Mike Illich did interfere, especially with previous GMs. Also, player agents went straight to Mike Illich at times. Source? What can source would you accept? Illich often interviewed on radio the direction of the Tigers…. On a broadcast, Al Kaline said Illich “wants to be involved…” . An interview on MLB radio with Willie Horton in 2007 said Illich was one of the more “engaged owners…”. Where did you hear Illich was a hands off owner?
He was engaged with his wallet. He was engaged when it came to spending big money (like for Prince Fielder). When you say he interfered, I hear he was a Jerry Jones and didn’t let his GMs do their jobs. Illitch was a great owner who wasn’t overly involved, or a micromanager. He let the GMs do their thing.
If you remember when he first bought the team. He went through several GMs until Randy Smith came onboard. Mike Illich absolutely took a very active role with personnel. Smith gets the blame but it was Illich who changed direction at least four times during Smith’s tenure. Juan Gonzalez was all Illich to draw fans to the new park (use a slugger to a pitchers park).
It is a “known fact” documented in the Media and from the horses mouths.
If fact, Dave D’s contract was “cashed out” by Mike Illtich after
he “sold” some veteran Tigers for younger players and prospects at Dombrowski’s last Tigers trade deadline.
Mike Illitch made Avia promise to “double down”
and not rebuild, not restock the farm etc
The results have been a disaster.
And, Mike Illitch gave agent Scott Boros his personal cell phone number
(and both Boros and Illtch admitted it in the press).
When Boros could not get Dombrowski to “bite” on one of his free agent clients, then Boros would just “go around” Dombrowski
and sweet talk Mike Illitch into signing way over market crazy long deals
that did not fit the Tigers budget and left holes on the team
like in the bullpen.
Example: Prince Fielder. Dombrowski said the Tigers had no interest in signing Fielder and that he was not a fit for the team(how many DHs can a team carry?!).
A week later Mike Ilitch announces on his own that the Tigers have signed Prince to a lucrative long term deal?!
Many more examples abound.
Mike Illich was a “fans” owner and would write big checks, and over pay for players if he thought it could help the Tigers win a championship.
But, the bills came due.
The Tigers big contracts for aging veteran ballplayers on the down side of of their 30’s weighed the team down like an anchor and have dragged their current rebuild on much longer than need be had the earlier overpaid contracts not been on the books.
No! Mike Illitch was a “fan’s owner” who was very impatient to win a World Series Title. He did have a budget, but it was not discussed in public.
Large overpays for certain veteran players made the Tigers skimp on other desperately needed players like a shut down bullpen that cost the Team multiple World Series Titles because there was no money left in the budget to spend on the Tigers bullpen.
is the context on the astros truly necessary for the purposes of this article? tired of ignorant writers fixating on that. mlb never investigated the other teams despite multiple sources citing other potential infractions. kind of a joke that MLBTR is supposedly an objective website yet continually is biased against houston
Don’t forget when AA dealt JD Martinez for three turds
Thanks for the memories….
I absolutely agree that DD was fired. Illitch wanted to know about Dave’s future, and he wouldn’t answer him. Mike sent him on his way and paid what he had to pay him.
There are definitely free agent moves that they call “ownership moves” because they are so expensive, it’s common knowledge that the owner needs to approve them. Boras having Illitch’s cell number is probably not uncommon, among owners.
And, bullpens, my son. They are the telltale sign of a GM that had mortgaged the future of the club by trading away their farm system and have nothing left. That type of GM (DD) stocks position players and a starting 4 or 5 that’ll make you think the team is destined for greatness. They might even have a closer. But, middle relief is terrible and they cough up the leads. So much so that the closer is moot.
I’m not arguing that Mike was involved. He just wasn’t overly involved.
LOL! MIke Illitch was well known as a micromanager of his businesses and his sports teams especially the Tigers.
Illitch “blindsided” Dombrowski with moves that Dombrowski and the Tigers would not have made otherwise.
Illitch overspent on guys who were in their declining stages of their careers.
And, Illitch made some very bad business decisions with the Tigers.
At the time that Scherzer and his agent Boros rejecteded the Tigers extension offer with plans to become a free agent in 1 year, that was the time to the Tigers should have cashed in Scherzer and others in “Soto like deals” to retool and rebuild the Tigers ballclub.
Dombrowski knew it was time and told Mike Ilitch those facts.
Illitch was in denial.
In Spring 2014, when Scherzer rejected the Tigers contract extension,
that was the time for the retooling or rebuilding with trades, draft picks and international signings.
Mike Ilitch refused to listen to his baseball experts(Dombrowski)
and the Tigers team, has not really been legitimately competitive since then
That was and is Mike Illitch’s fault for sabotaging the logical course of action
required of a Tigers team that was at the end of its pennant contending run.
The pen wasn’t that bad. Smokey the Manager was poor at managing his pen throughout his managerial career.
Go back and watch the 2013 playoffs against the BoSox. Leyland moves were supremely bad.
Throw in the return on Price and the Inge, Fielder and Cabrera contract to get the full scope of Dumbroski. Throw good money after bad money to contend.
The Price returns were good including Matthew Boyd.
Fielder’s signing was all Mike Illitch.
(And, no, Most Team Owners DO NOT let player agents UNDERCUT
their own Pres of Baseball Ops and negotiate side deals with player agents
against the wishes of their Pres of Baseball Ops.
That was most likely one of the key reasons that Dave Dombrowski
was open to offers from other teams.
Ditto with the Cabrera and Victor Martinez extensions to players already
in their declining skills phases. Those deals had Mike Illitch written all over it
Inge’s 2 year 11.5M contract extension was a bargain for a starting 3B.
Dave Dombrowski is a slam dunk 1st Ballot Hall of Fame MLB Executive.
He just finished building and succeeding to bring his 4th separate team
to the World Series. That accomplishment is unprecedented.
It has never been done before in MLB history.’
I think the Tigers should have rebuild earlier. But I think the organization wanted to get Mr. I that world series ring and it blinded them to reality.
Two things hurt the Tigers a lot. 1) was the slotting of draft picks. The Tigers spent aot in the draft willing to pay for top talent. 2) the changing of FA compensation.