Alex Gonzalez trade leaves media and fans baffled

Reaction to the Tigers dealing young utility man Steve Lombardozzi for ancient utility man/stopgap shortstop Alex Gonzalez was negative to the extreme, despite the team's efforts at spin.

The Detroit Tigers deal with the Baltimore Orioles, trading 25-year-old cost controlled utility man Steve Lombardozzi for 37-year-old shortstop and spring training non-roster invitee Alex Gonzalez, caused quite a stir.

But it was all the wrong reasons, the trade completely and utterly lambasted in the media. On Twitter, the usual baseball media suspects were baffled, asking what in the Hell was Dave Dombrowski thinking?

Discussing the trade internally at BYB, our own reaction was similar in tone.

Catherine: I agree, this doesn't make sense. Lombardozzi could at least cover several positions well enough. Gonzalez BA isn't encouraging at all and his F% leaves some to be desired.

Al: (Wakes up, reads about ridiculously dumb trade in email, debates going back to bed in hope it was only a nightmare)

Jon: Neifi Perez is loosening up and getting ready to report!

Rob: This trade is so dumb. So, so dumb.

Grant Bisbee of SB Nation shredded the Tigers' recent moves, the ridiculous Gonzalez deal piling on to what has been a very confusing few months.

It was a jack of all offseasons, master of none. The Tigers just traded for Alex Gonzalez. It doesn't matter which one. It was a cry for help. The ambiguous offseason is even stranger when you think of how unambiguous it should be. The Tigers are the win-nowiest team that ever tried to win now. Their best hitters are all 30 or over. They have a good rotation now, when in three years it could look like Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt does now. If the Cardinals or Red Sox lost their starting shortstop for the season, they would have Stephen Drew right now, draft pick be damned. It's what the Braves did with Ervin Santana.

Sports Illustrated's Cliff Corchoran called the trade a "gift" for Baltimore, who have an unsettled situation at second base. Corchoran doesn't see Gonzalez being a solution for the Tigers' problems at short, especially when Stephen Drew is still available the open market and supposedly willing to sign a one-year contract.

Gonzalez, who was in Orioles camp as a non-roster player, is 37, has played in just 65 games over the last two seasons, and hit .177/.203/.230 for the Brewers in 118 plate appearances last year before being released in early June and failing to catch on with another team. A career .246/.290/.396 hitter, he would seem to be beyond his sell-by date as a major leaguer.

While media and fans were eviscerating the trade, the Tigers were busy putting their own spin on the deal, via ESPN. Obviously, Dave Dombrowski defended the move. But his calling Gonzalez a "key guy" stretches the limits of credulity.

"I'm not looking at 150 games. He's an older guy. But we do think he can be a key guy for us.''

Manager Brad Ausmus went to an old and worn out trope, playing the "experience" card.

"He's always had great hands, and I can't imagine his hands have gotten any worse. I've heard great things about him in spring training, as far as how he's moving. And I think his experience is a huge advantage.''

Regardless of the naysayers, one local media member seems to be buying what the Tigers are selling.

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