When the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera, they no doubt got one of the best hitters in baseball. As a fan of the Indians, my first thought was "oh f***." Now, a few months later, I have changed my mind. The trade might not be that bad, the Tigers still did get one of the best hitters in baseball, but was it what they really needed?
The Tigers already had one of the best lineups in baseball. They didn't need another big bat, yet they added one and didn't address their biggest concern, which is pitching. Last season their pitching staff, namely their bullpen, was one of the worst in baseball. They have done absolutely nothing to address this. In fact, they took away from their pitching staff (Andrew Miller.)
The Tigers remind me a lot of the Yankees, awesome lineup, not very good pitching or defense. I then thought, what if the Yankees had traded Joba Chamberlain, Milky Cabrera and four lesser ranked prospects for Cabrera and Willis? I bet New York fans would FLIP. This would essentially be the same package the Tigers gave up with Miller being a top 10/15 prospect, and Maybrin actually projecting to be a better player thank Milky Cabrera.
Looking into things a litter deeper, taking defense into consideration (Cabrera being the worst fielding 3B in the league, Inge being one of the best) Cabrera is worth about 3-4 more wins per season than Inge. Then you add in Willis, who is really a wild card. If he has a season anything like last years, he has negative value, and would be worth less wins than anything Andrew Miller would give you.
Look at some of the big name pitchers that have been dealt this off-season. Dan Haren, Erik Bedard, ect. Now, the Tigers could have put together an offer centerign around Camren Maybrin and say 2 low ranked prospects, and it would be head and shoulders better than what the Diamondbacks gave up for Haren. They easily could of landed Erik Bedard for what they gave the Marlins, and probably would of given up less. Looking at what the M's gave up, the Tigers might of been able to keep Miller and still landed Bedard for Maybrin & other high prospects.
The question now becomes for Tigers fans, would your team be better off with Cabrera & Willis or either Dan Haren or Erik Bedard, along with Inge, Miller, Maybrin and some relief pitching?? I am not trying to take an unnecessary shot at the Yankees, but they have proved for almost a decade that having an all-star lineup does not mean a world series victory. Look at winners of the past few world series.
07 - Red Sox (top overall pitching staff in the AL. Team that represented the NL had the best defensive of all-time.) 06 - Cardinals (best defense in the NL that season & a very good pen.) 05 - White Sox (top bullpen in the MLB, one of the best pitching staffs in the AL)
and I can go on and on and on...you get the point. When you already have 5 or 6 all-star caliber hitters in your lineup, to be it would be more significant to add a true ace to a below average pitching staff than to add one more all-star caliber bat.
And looking at their staff...Verlander is a true ace, no doubt about it. Bonderman has NEVER had an ERA under 4 in his career...although people want you to believe he is some sort of Cy Young contender, he really is not that good. Willis had a 1.60 WHIP in the NL, and with the most run support in the NL last season won all of 10 games. Kenny Rogers is a huge injury risk, and Robertson is well below average. Miller, a future F.O.R. pitcher and their 6th starter for this season is gone. Nobody in the minors is ready if/when there is an injury. And call me crazy, but I don't see Rogers going 200 innings.
I know they have a "win now" mentality, but I think they about it the wrong way. They could of traded Maybrin and others for a legit ace (Haren or Bedard) kept Miller, and kept the best defensive 3B in the AL, if not all of baseball. And looking into it further...how will the Tigers look in, say 2 years? Rogers will be retired, and Sheff probably will too. Renteria and Polanco will be old. Guillen, with his D, may be a full-time DH. Miggy should not be a 3B on a major league team for much longer, with his glove. He will either be 1B or DH. Ordonez will be 2 years older, Todd Jones will be gone, and they have no farm system. As a Indians fan, this pleases me. They won't be 119 loss bad, but they won't be a playoff contender either.
Bottom line, I think the Tigers dropped the ball on this one. They already have an all-star lineup, and no pitching, yet chose to address the lineup. They will be a watered down version of the Yankees, win around 88 games and miss the playoffs this season, and because of this trade, be a 4th place team in 2 years.
For this year I think it is a good deal since the AL will take a year to adjust to Willis and realize he isn't a good pitcher except for the goofy delivery. I also think the Tigers offense won't be much better this year than last year, too many guys overproduced last season and Cabrera is only going to offset the regression, not lead to a huge improvement.
I like the points you made. They did need to address their pitching but instead went after a bat. Miguel Cabrera is definitely a top 5 young player in the game, but I don't think he'll help the team as much as say a Bedard or Haren would have. Robertson and Rogers aren't all that good, and Bonderman is overrated. Willis is overrated as well, and moves to a tougher league to pitch in. To have been able to keep Miller and acquire an ace to compliment Verlander would have helped the team more, so I agree with what you're saying
I wouldn't be too excited about that rotation other than Verlander who I think will be a legit stud pitcher for years to come barring injuries. Bonderman is a very serious injury risk, Rogers is old as hell, Robertson and Willis are average at best.
I also wouldn't be too excited about the bullpen with Zumaya out. I think they have enough offense and if their rotation doesn't fall apart to maintain competitiveness but they are far from being the front runner in the AL.
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin
i think this all boils down to Bonderman to tell you the truth. i have no doubts on that lineup and i do think they can get away with their pen. however even if you put an average SP like willis and Robertson samwiched inbetween a stud Verlander and a potential breakout of bonderman you are looking pretty good.
really if bonderman falls i think so does the tigers
Granted the Tigers pen is shakey, they will only be as good as the starting pitching is. The deeper the starters go into the game the stronger the pen will be. The trade was a great trade right now and may be push if Maybin and Miller pan out for the Marlins. Heck if Maybin and Miller hit their potential upside the Marlins win this trade based on Willis's iffy future. But bringing a soon to be 25 year-old HOF bat for two prospects works for me. Throw in a SP who's career still has upside and I can't not like the deal. They do have another SP in Porcello who is looked on as a future ace, so it's not like the cupboard is bare. Oh and we have the GM who brought Miller, Maybin, Porcello and Verlander to the team. I have a bit more faith in Dombrowski. I am concerned over the rotation, which needs Rogers to be healthy and give them quality innings. I do get excited at thinking of how the improved line-up will help pitchers like Bonderman and Robertson (who is a pretty darn good 4-5th starter) win more games. The bats will also help these pitchers stay in games a little longer. Maybe long enough to not wear out the pen like they did last season. To me this trade was a great trade.
The trade for Rentoria, well that is another thing. Like all of your suppositions about what if they traded for Haren or Bedard, in looking back I almost would rather have lived with moving Inge to SS or try Miggy out at 1st and keep Jurgins and Gorkys Hernandez. But at the time there was no inkling of a MCab/Willis trade so it seemed like a worthy gamble. Time will tell.
It was undoubtedly a great trade. Miguel Cabrera is still extremely young and with Miller/Maybin there are no guarantees. I have to disagree with the analysis...if Miller and Maybin pan out to be stars than ya its bad, but think of all the prospects that bust.