There are two things we know fir sure about Detroit Tigers’ general manager Dave Dombrowski:
- His hair always looks perfect AND
- He’s not afraid to make big trades
In less than two weeks the annual winter meetings will commence and it’s highly likelt that Dombrowski and the Tigers will be in the mix. Let’s review some of the hot stove league big splashes during the Dombrowski era:
- In 2004 just before spring training the Tigers inked Pudge Rodriguez to a fat contract and the signing helped usher in the current era of winning in Motown.
- A year later at almost the exact same time, the Tigers signed Magglio Ordonez, who turned out to be one of the most productive and popular players to ever wear the Old English D, and he’s probably the best free agent signing the franchise ever made.
- In 2007 at the winter meetings, Dombrowski shocked the baseball world when he traded for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in a trade that has turned out to be so lopsided that it will go down in history as one of the greatest heists ever.
- Five years ago at the 2009 winter meetings, the Detroit GM made a monster deal that netted the Tigers Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Daniel Schlereth, and Max Scherzer. All they gave up was journeyman pitcher Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson. Another lopsided win for Dombrowski.
- Just prior to the winter meetings in 2010, Trader Dave lured Victor Martinez to Detroit, snatching him up before the Orioles, Angels, and Dodgers could even get into the action.
- After VMart got hurt during the 2011 offseason the Tigers shocked the sports world again by signing free agent Prince Fielder to a huge contract.
- After two years of Fielder’s uninspired presence in the clubhouse, Dombrowski spun Fielder into Ian Kinsler.
- This past season at the trade deadline, Dombrowski refused to stand pat and went out and got David Price, a former Cy Young Award winner.
Do you think he’ll sit on his hands at these winter meetings? No way.
A few rumors are already circulating around the Tigers and it’s likely that Dombrowski will make at least one or two deals and don’t be surprised if he pulls off a blockbuster.
The Boston Red Sox are interested in Rick Porcello and it’s been rumored that Yoenis Cespedes would come to Detroit in return. Cespedes is a gifted player with tremendous power. The Tigers pursued him when he was a free agent a few years ago coming out of Cuba. Porcello is entering his free agent walk year. Apparently the Marlins are also interested in Porcello and they’ve asked about David Price. The Tigers deep rotation is attracting a lot of attention and that plays into Dombrowski’s hands as he goes into the meetings. Dealing from a position of strength is always a good thing.
Several teams have asked about Alex Avila, with Houston and Arizona mentioned. The Tigers picked up his option but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be traded.
What will Dombrowski do? It might make sense to deal Porcello or Price (or both) for outfield help and/or to get younger. Spinning Porcello into Cespedes looks like a big upgrade, however Cespedes can also be a free agent after the 2015 season. His pull-swing doesn’t exactly fit for Comerica Park but he’d have a great hitting teacher as a teammate — Miguel Cabrera. And with Miggy and VMart signed for several years, the young Cuban may find it appealing to become a longterm Tiger.
Price is a trickier asset — he’s a free agent after the ’15 season like the others — but he’s an All-Star #1 starter. Those are hard to find. But what if Dombrowski could get a few young players from the Marlins in return, say center fielder Marcel Ozuna or young starter Jose Fernandez (returning from Tommy John surgery but one of the better young arms in the league).
And if the Tigers were to deal Porcello (or especially Price), Dombrowski could really shock everyone by diving back into the Max Scherzer sweepstakes. Without the worry of having to sign either Porcello or Price or both after the ’15 season, the Tigers could make Max a lifetime Tiger. Mr. Ilitch has sold enough pizza to pull it off, trust me.
The big question about the winter meetings isn’t whether Dombrowski will do something that will grab headlines. The big question is: given his amazing track record, why would any other team trade with the Detroit GM?