Reflecting on the trade deadline

Omar Infante singles against the Twins in 2012 - Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Tigers have some reasons to explore trades. Have recent deals been worth the price?

As we approach the All Star Game, the next milestone on the baseball calendar is the trade deadline. After July 31 teams can only trade if the major league players clear waivers. As we witness the struggles of the bullpen and covet other teams' relievers, while staying mindful of the rumors of a pending suspension for Jhonny Peralta with no obvious replacements, let's look back on previous trades for perspective. This post will focus on 2012, with previous seasons to follow.

In 2012 Dave Dombrowski traded Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly, and Brian Flynn to Miami for Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez. Infante slashed .257 /.283 / .385 (batting average / on-base percentage / slugging percentage) during the remainder of the year, well under his typical performance. But this was still a significant improvement from Brandon Inge, Ryan Raburn, Ramon Santiago, Danny Worth, and even a little Hernan Perez. Anibal Sanchez was solid down the stretch, and then made three starts in the postseason with a 1.77 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00 including seven shutout innings against the (aging) Yankees. Jacob Turner has made 15 starts for Miami and looks vastly improved with an ERA of 2.33 this year. Rob Brantly slashed .290 / .372 / .460 for Miami last year but has hit only slightly better than Alex Avila this year. Brian Flynn seemed like a throw-in, a 22 year-old starter with a 1.42 WHIP in an Advanced-A minor league. But this year he has made 15 starts in AAA with nine strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.32 WHIP. He may end up being the best player that the Marlins received.

Conclusion: The Tigers went to the World Series and resigned Anibal Sanchez who had one of the best first halves of 2013, while the Marlins have three good young players. Both teams would make this trade again. It will be interesting to revisit the deal in 2017.

In 2012 the Tigers also needed a right-handed bat to replace Ryan Raburn. If Don Kelly had learned to switch-hit when he was younger, he surely would have been given the role. The Tigers acquired Jeff Baker from the Cubs, eventually sending Marcelo Carreno in return. It seemed like a good idea, as Baker has a career .301 / .354 / .530 slash line against left-handed pitching. But Baker instead brought back memories of the Aubrey Huff trade as he proceeded to slash .200 / .243 / .257. Soon Avisail Garcia replaced him, and the Tigers were fighting to get back in the pennant race. Carreno has been injured all of 2013.

Conclusion: No harm, no foul.

Next up: 2011, when the Tigers steal Doug Fister and the Twins dump Delmon Young.

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