Wednesday the Tigers answered both questions at the designated hitter and center field positions in one day. Victor Martinez is staying with the team when the Tigers bit the four-year bullet, but only hours later President and GM, Dave Dombrowski, traded away the team's top prospect. Devon Travis. A second baseman in the middle of being converted to the outfield by the Tigers, Travis had been working out for a month after recovering from core muscle surgery in September. Travis was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for center fielder, Anthony Gose.
Devon Travis' reign as Baseball America's top Tigers prospect lasted less than 24 hours. That has to be a record.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) November 13, 2014
With Travis no longer atop the Tigers' prospect list, right fielder Steven Moya takes over as the Tigers' No. 1 prospect in the system. In Detroit, the Tigers' outfield defense has been a traipsing wonderland of adventure since former Tiger Austin Jackson was traded away this year for David Price (and before that, to be honest). And no, that's not a good thing. It's been a glaring hole that the Tigers knew they needed to fix.
Goose can go and get it in the outfield. The Royals did a lot of that in the postseason.— Mario Impemba (@mario_impemba) November 13, 2014
Tigers were very high on Devon Travis but saw this as a chance to add a true CF and get more left-handed.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 13, 2014
Just don't expect Gose to be hitting above .250, he can't hit for power to save his life and his OPS was only .609 in 2014. However, he can play defense and he has speed, and that's what the Tigers were after. If you don't like this deal, remember that the Tigers do need to play solid defense, something they've been in short supply of.
I like the #Tigers trade for Anthony Gose. Dude can absolutely fly, and pick it. Devon Travis isn't much of a loss. Really.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) November 13, 2014
Gose can't hit but he can really pick it in CF. Great athlete. Can run. 4th OF, but can handle CF defensively, worst case.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) November 13, 2014
Real talk: I'll miss Travis, but there is a ton to like about this trade.— PhilaeCokesBrain (@PhilCokesBrain) November 13, 2014
Not everyone's entirely happy with the trade. The Tigers needed to pay a pretty penny on more than one occasion to solve various issues in 2014. The Tigers' "win now" mentality hasn't worked out so far, even with large trades during the season, but much of that is because there were still large holes and erasing the stability they had with Jackson certainly didn't help.
Sounds like there's your Tigers CFer for 2015: Anthony Gose. Fast, young, not much of a stick. Devon Travis is another heavy price to pay.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) November 13, 2014
This makes it Austin Jackson, Drew Smyly, Willy Adames, and Devon Travis for short-term David Price and Anthony Gose. Costly deals.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) November 13, 2014
So we just traded our top prospect for Ezequiel Carrera— Rob Rogacki (@BYBRob) November 13, 2014
Seriously though, the move should work well for the Tigers. As much of a promising prospect Travis was for the Tigers — and someone Dombrowski admitted they didn't want to let go — the team needed to fix the defensive outfield issues as soon as possible. Not every player on the team is going to be able to hit .300 or slug 30 home runs in a season, there needs to be some give and take in certain positions.
Ok, real talk: love this deal. Travis can hit but he's already scraping his ceiling. Gose fills a hole right now. Not great, but he plays D.— Rob Rogacki (@BYBRob) November 13, 2014
Folks in Toronto tell me Anthony Gose doesn't open up to many people, but might be willing to with Miguel and Victor -- like J.D. did.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) November 13, 2014
When the trade happened, the main question was who should be the Tigers' primary center fielder. Later in the day Dombrowski said they acquired Gose in the hopes he'll be the primary player, so barring anything odd in Spring Training next season, expect to see Gose in center field on Opening Day 2015.
With Gose's numbers being identical to Davis' against right-handed pitchers, he may sit out on occasion. While Davis didn't hit overwhelmingly well against righties in 2014, he still did a better job of it than Gose. At some point he's going to need to hit better than he did last season if he's going to be the Tigers' primary centerfielder.
Gose hit .238/.329/.312 against RHP. Rajai hit .247/.290/.327 against them, so it's not a huge short-term gain. Gose needs a step forward.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) November 13, 2014