Everyone knew it would happen. The Tigers clearly need bullpen help in order to win the World Series. However, many, including myself, didn't think it would come at this high of a price. Danry Vasquez, an OF prospect that I recently ranked #3 in the Tigers system, and has been anywhere between 3-5 in other rankings, was traded to the Houston Astros for reliever Jose Veras. I have been airing my thoughts on @tigersprospects on twitter, but to sum up, though I understand the move, I think the Tigers may have overpaid. The most common concern this offseason was the lack of a stable bullpen (or as stable as bullpens can be anyway), and yet the Tigers chose not to address it. By waiting it out, the Tigers were left with no choice but to part with an extremely talented-but-raw 19-year-old outfielder. Of course, the Tigers use their farm system as a means to acquire proven talent. They have proven that over many years. They are trying to win now. This move is more evidence.
Avisail Garcia and Bruce Rondon will not be on the offseason prospect lists. They have/will hit their respective thresholds. Nick Castellanos may or may not accrue enough AB's to be eligible. So may Hernan Perez. Danry Vasquez has been traded. That's 5 of the top 10-12 guys. Not to mention, the PTBNL may be a legitimate prospect as well. There was a possibility that Vasquez may have been the highest ranked prospect in the Tigers system this offseason. While it's always good to graduate talent to the major league level, I can't help but think about the Tigers' farm system this upcoming year. The outcome is bleak.
If you take all of those guys out of the equation (and remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder), you're left with a top 5 looking something like: Jake Thompson, Steven Moya, Harold Castro, Eugenio Suarez, and either Ziomek, Knebel, Briceno, etc. Not exactly something to write home about.
I can understand the thought process behind the Vasquez move. The Tigers have a $150 million payroll. It's clear they need bullpen help in order to win the World Series, which is the ultimate goal. While I like Danry as a prospect, I understand the need to "give up something to get something". At the end of the day, your farm system is supposed to be used as currency. It can be used to provide players to your major league team via trade or the players themselves panning out. In the last few years, Dombrowski has shown a willingness to part with top prospects in order to provide benefit to the major league team. A talented prospect like Vasquez may be a bit of an overpay in a vacuum; however, it's hard to get mad at the Tigers when they want to push all of their chips to the middle of the table with the team's core in its prime.
If you'd like more information on Danry Vasquez, here is what I wrote about him a few weeks ago in the prospect countdown.
As always, you can follow me on twitter @jgoro8 and @tigersprospects for related prospect news and recaps.