Gone: Rick Porcello, Eugenio Suarez, Jonathan Crawford
Arrived: Yoenis Cespedes, Alfredo Simon, Alex Wilson, Gabe Speier
That’s how Thursday morning ended. And it was pretty depressing. The Tigers dealt a 3 win pitcher, a good back up infielder, and a future setup man with some small chance to start for a 3 win outfielder, a 1 win starter, a potentially useful reliever, and a young flyer.
If you want to add that up, it’s not a horribly lopsided outcome. It’s not like the Tigers dealt Doug Fister for table scraps, but the team didn’t get demonstrably better. It’s probably a wash or maybe a minor downgrade for 2015 and is certainly a downgrade beyond that. They’ll wind up paying an extra $2 million or so as well for the privilege.
So what’s the point?
Their outfield got better and their rotation got worse and they certainly gave up more future value in Suarez and Crawford next to Wilson and Speier. If you want to flip some pitching for some outfield (Porcello for Cespedes), that works given the strengths of the two clubs, but to go ahead and spend somewhat useful assets on Simon doesn’t really make sense.
Do the Tigers think he’s good? Do they just not believe in Suarez and Crawford at all? Do they really like Simon more than a guy like Masterson or Brett Anderson that could be had for cash alone?
There’s essentially a way to spin this as a push and a way to spin this as foolish. None of it inspires confidence and that’s before you realize you’re being asked to cheer for Simon (who has some serious off the field issues).
Porcello is gone and the Tigers aren’t much better off, if at all, for it.
Is more coming? Perhaps, but I’d wager we’ll see a lefty reliever and call it an offseason. Which sounds pretty underwhelming, perhaps even disappointing, to me.
“to go ahead and spend somewhat useful assets on Simon doesn’t really make sense.” Useful assets–that’s the crux. I am not convinced that Suarez really can play a role on a championship caliber club. Even at 22, his athleticism was stretched at shortstop, and it is not at all clear that his bat will play elsewhere on the diamond. Of course, if Iglesias can’t come back, then we may miss Suarez big time.
Crawford? Who knows? He was a bit old for his competition, and still had an unimpressive strikeout rate. I never saw the kid pitch, but it seems far from the realm of possibility that he will never be a significant force on a major league team. If we got Simon for nothing, which seems entirely possible, then it is a good trade.