The Tigers got Cespedes (plus Wilson and Speier) for New English D golden boy Rick Porcello. It made sense at the time based on the needs of both teams, and it wound up working out better than the Tigers probably expected. Porcello went on to struggle in Boston, Cespedes had his best year, and then they flipped him at the deadline to the Mets for Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.
Trading Cespedes was a no-brainer, given that his contract did not allow the Tigers to extend him a qualifying offer this winter. As a result, once the Tigers decided it was over for 2015, he became the most obvious player to move. They did just that on Friday.
The package is Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa, a pair of right handed pitching prospects with varying degrees of potential. Fulmer is clearly the prize of the deal, as he features a hard fastball and some quality breaking stuff. The changeup seems to be a work in progress according to the reports that were filed on him earlier this year. The delivery is a little worrisome and there’s a bit of an injury history, but he definitely has the potential to be a mid rotation starter. His numbers have been very good in the minors, and one person from a non-involved team put him right around Norris and Boyd in terms of total value.
Cessa is a lesser piece, but one like Labourt, who is worth watching. From what I’ve read, he’s probably more of a reliever in the long run, but it’s not out of the question that he could wind up as a starter if some of his secondary stuff pans out. The same person backed up that belief. If you want a richer picture of the prospects, I encourage you to visit the usual places like TigsTown (I haven’t seen either guy myself, so I can’t speak to some of their finer points).
I think the Tigers got a good package for Cespedes here. Fulmer is catching on and Cessa is more than a throw in, but I am a little disappointed they didn’t try to go bigger with this deal. Someone like Dixon Machado could have sweetened the Tigers side and they could have offered to pick up a dead weight contract like Cuddyer’s in order to get an even bigger return. Value for value, this one works, but I’m not sure it was the perfect strategy.
At any rate, the Tigers added another guy to their top five prospects in Fulmer and filled out another spot in the top 15 with Cessa. They went into the week with a real opportunity to improve the long term health of the organization, and it certainly looks like that was the case.
Pitching prospects are notoriously fickle, and any one guy could totally flame out, but at the very least, the Tigers acquired the right tiers of players for the two big name rentals. We’ll break down the entire deadline later tonight or tomorrow, but for now, Tigers fans can rest easy. Dombrowski and company had a fine 48 hours.