We have been looking back at the Tigers' trade deadline deals. Acquiring Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister looks brilliant in hindsight. Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff did not pan out, but did not cost much either. Let's work our way back to the World Series season of 2006.
In 2008 the Tigers reacquired Kyle Farnsworth for Ivan Rodriquez. On July 30 they were acting like sellers more than buyers, though they were five games out of first and in third place. They managed to go 19 and 36 the rest of the way. Farnsworth contributed 16 appearances with a 6.75 ERA. The Yankees wanted Pudge to help with the stretch run, but he slashed a very weak .219 / .257 / .323 and they finished in third place. The trade had little impact on either team's pennant chase or their future seasons.
The Tigers were quiet at the trade deadline in 2007.
In 2006 the Tigers ascended to first place on May 16. In July they increased their lead from 1 ½ games to 8 ½ games. Chris Shelton emerged like a shooting star in April but quickly faded. So at the deadline the Tigers traded pitching prospect Brian Rogers to Pittsburgh for first baseman Sean Casey. Casey never had much power, and slashed .245 / .286 / .364 in the final two months as the Tigers gave up a ten game lead and fell to second place on the final day of the season. But he woke up in the postseason with seven extra base hits in 39 plate appearances, including two home runs in the World Series.
Sean stuck around for one more season in Detroit and provided slightly above replacement-level production. He is now using his communication skills that earned him the "Mayor" moniker as an analyst on MLB Network. Brian Rogers made 13 poor appearances for the Pirates and actually returned to the Tigers' system before calling it quits.
In mid-August Placido Polanco was injured. The Cubs' Neifi Perez breezed through waivers, so the Tigers acquired him for catching prospect Chris Robinson. Robinson has now spent five straight years at Triple-A, looking like a major-league backup and waiting for a call-up. Neifi slashed .200 / .235 / .215 down the stretch. I pin the blame for the second place finish squarely on his bat, which should not be a problem because he was not using it anyway. Or should we blame Leyland, not believing that Ramon Santiago could do better? And to make matters worse, Leyland continued to use Perez in 2007 until his .172 batting average earned him his release. Maybe he was recalling 1999, when Leyland managed Perez in Colorado, and Neifi led the league in triples.
But Dombrowski was not done. In mid-September he picked Matt Stairs off the waiver wire. For Stairs it was one of 13 stops in a surprising 19 year career. He cost the Tigers nothing but a bit of payroll, and produced a slash line of .244 / .295 / .463 in return. As Stairs was acquired in September, he was not eligible for the playoffs.
So I conclude that Neifi Perez goes down as the worst deadline deal by Dave Dombrowski. The lesson is to be careful what you give Jim Leyland, because there are some guys that he loves and will use regardless of performance.