Rondon Down, Romine Acquired: A Rough Month In Detroit

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

The Tigers employed a controversial offseason strategy this year. They traded Fielder for Kinsler to free up cash (a move most liked), they dumped Fister for prospects (a move nearly everyone hated), they signed a closer, a Rajai Davis, and a Joba Chamberlain. I don’t think you could have looked at the roster and thought they got better. Some people think they held their ground, some argued it was the right long term plan, but you can’t really say they got better for 2014.

Then Dirks got hurt, out for half a season. Iglesias got hurt, out for the season. Rondon now needs Tommy John Surgery and is done for the year. Sanchez is dealing with some shoulder inflammation, but thankfully it doesn’t look too serious at this point.

So the Tigers were already down a couple of wins and then they lost something like 4-5 with a set of injuries. They had a cushion, but that cushion is nearly gone. To fight back, they’ve traded for Andrew Romine at the cost of Jose Alvarez. It’s a strange move because you’re trading for a player that becomes the fourth or fifth best option at SS organization-wide for a player who was probably one of your rotation insurance policies. I’d rather have Alvarez than Romine on balance, but neither is worth getting upset about. The Tigers have other guys who can fill the Alvarez role.

But then, there was this:

The Tigers brought in a player to share the shortstop job who is worse than their in house options? They gave away Alvarez for the right to play another replacement level shortstop. It’s not a huge waste or anything, but what’s the point of that? Why bother?

I don’t really buy Dombrowski’s “internal options” talk. I think they’ll make a move to improve at least one of the problem areas. In fact, I’m starting to think there’s a handshake agreement with Drew to sign him on April 1. That’s speculation on my part, but I think Drew is going to accept a one year deal for a reasonable price with the understanding that the Tigers can’t offer him the qualifying offer if he signs after Opening Day. But…

There really isn’t a good explanation for what’s happened this offseason in Detroit and my theory on Drew is predicated on an assumption that Dombrowski is actually trying to win a title in 2014. You’re going to have bad fortune with injuries, but the organization was unprepared and reckless in how they went about building for 2014. They are still the best team in the Central, but man, it’s getting close and they no longer look like an October powerhouse.

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