is that the naysayers have been proven right.
For most of the last few years, really, since the Tigers re-signed Guillen, signed Sheffield, and went full-bore after the 07 world title, many in the national and local media said that Detroit couldn't continue to do this. They couldn't continue to spend money on players due to the economy or the ridiculous claim that Detroit was a small market. Detroit is not a small market. Smaller than 30 years ago, sure, but it's not Portland or Kansas City or even Minneapolis. It just isn't.
Anyway, with every move, the good (Miggy), the bad (Robertson), and the insane (Willis), people said we wouldn't be able to do this and eventually we'd have to adopt the Twins model of going with kids, counting on your scouting, and hoping the Yankees had an off year. With the trade this week, that has been proven correct in my opinion. A lot of people on this site who are very knowledgable about baseball are putting a happy face on this deal, but I just don't agree. The team, as built today, is riddled with holes. A team that was offensively challenged in 09 has lost its 1 and 2 hitters for 2010, and no replacements are coming. No left handed hitter is coming. Not one that costs anything. Matt Stairs or Scott Podsednik might be coming, but that's it. The lineup is downright horrifying, especially when you start thinking ahead to the inevitable injuries.
The problem with the Twins model? Well, our scouting people and minor league system aren't as good. We made some progress there by stealing Rick Knapp, but that's one guy. And for all the loveable, cuddly feelings the small-market Twins engender, they haven't won a playoff series since 1991. They've won some divisions, and that's to their credit. But they don't advance-ever.
Perhaps the so-called irrational spending since 2004 has been just that, and Detroit has to accept what we are. But that's not what we were told, not by Mr. I or anyone else. Weren't we just on the cover of Sports Illustrated under the heading of The Righteous Franchise? Was it all just spin?
Maybe I'm wrong-fellow BYBers note my pessimism with good reason. But I don't have a lot of faith in this operation right now. There were baseball reasons for Grandy to go, sure. But it's pretty tough in my mind to justify dumping the guy for a couple of lefty relievers and a minor league strikeout machine. There had to be a better deal somewhere. Didn't there? Or was it not about better deals, just cheaper, league minimum deals? I know it's not my money, but this was not what we've been sold by the organization for the last four years.
And the biggest alarm bell going off for me is as follows: What makes everyone think we're just going to spend money like crazy in the 10 or 11 offseasons when the attendance will go through the floor? How are we going to re-sign Verlander? Does he want to stay, even if he gets a $100 million deal? To keep him, we'll have to overpay in the next 12 months, and isn't that what got us into trouble in the first place?
It's not the moves that have shaken my faith in the franchise. It's the way they were conducted, as if they had to be made right away, and what they brought back. It's the worst I've felt as a Tigers fan since, well, before Pudge came. And no one wants to remember those days-at least I certainly don't. I hope I'm wrong and that there's a grand plan already in motion.