With trade rumors in the air, let's take a look at last year's Tigers who have left for
greener different pastures. They may have departed in free agency, via a trade, or simply been designated for assignment and picked up by another club. One way or another, the Tigers' brass decided to go in another direction. Taking their collective pulse gives a sense of managements' intuition.
Fangraphs' version of WAR (wins above replacement) is used in this story.
Since the Tigers are in Kansas City, we will start with ...
Infante has returned to his career norm, from triple-slashing .318/.345 /.450 last year to .270/.313 /.380 this year. His 0.7 WAR suggests that he is on track to earn his $7.5 million salary. His performance is acceptable for a team struggling to stay over .500.
Going across Missouri ...
Peralta has returned from last year's suspension by providing value with 13 home runs. Fangraphs has him ranked second among all shortstops in WAR with 2.8, due to power and above-average defense. The Cardinals would drop from second to fourth place without him. The Tigers' divisional lead would be greater with him, but they would be out $15 million in salary with less payroll flexibility for the trade deadline.
Now east to Cincinnati, where I am working with City Gospel Mission to build housing for homeless men on the former grounds of Crosley Field as noted by Terence Moore at MLB.com.
Pena has cooled off from last year's .297/.315 /.397 to this year's .253/.289/.379, right in line with expectations. The major difference is that while he played a nearly-career-high 71 games in Detroit, he has already played 62 games in Cincinnati. Pena finally gets his playing time, and Detroit keeps about $1 million of powder dry by using a different version of Bryan. Fangraphs has their WAR values at 0.2 and 0.1, equal within measurement error. Brayan returned from paternity leave this week, after the birth of daughter Isabella. A sore forearm and Joey Votto's injury will have Pena playing more first base.
Santiago joined Pena in Cincinnati. He is slashing his typical .233/.317/.274, but surprisingly playing less often than in Detroit. Brandon Phillips' recent thumb injury may provide more playing time. Had Ramon stuck around, he would have ended up at shortstop and could have won an extra game in April or May. The Reds are paying only $1.1 million for his steady glove. The Tigers would be ahead had they paid double.
Prince managed to be one of the worst first basemen before succumbing to the surgeon's knife. Fangraphs evaluates his WAR as below replacement-level at -0.3, but Mitch Moreland managed to perform worse as the replacement.
Tui started the year with Toronto's Triple-A Buffalo, and was claimed of waivers by the White Sox in June. He has spent the last month in Triple-A Charlotte. His OPS is .659 for the season. There are plenty of comparable players available for little cost.
Garcia was lost for the season after eight games due to a torn labrum. The Tigers lost Jose Iglesias for the season with stress fractures in his shins. The Red Sox are rumored to be interested in trading Jake Peavy. Which brings us to the pitchers.
Fister missed the first month but has rewarded Washington with eight wins and a 2.90 ERA in 12 starts over the past two months. His strikeout rate has dropped to his pre-Detroit 5.2 per nine innings, and home run rate nearly doubled, but so far the formula is working. While we argue about the value of Robbie Ray's future, the Nationals' fans are thankful for every Fister start.
Alvarez has pitched to three batters in Anaheim this year, and otherwise been limited to six starts in Triple-A with an ERA of 6.75. He has not been heard from for two months, apparently lost to injury.
Villarreal pitched in four games and was shut down with an injured shoulder.
There is no sign of Bonderman on a roster this year.
Valverde exceeded his 5.59 ERA of 2013 with a 5.66 ERA for the Mets.
Downs has pitched 22 innings for the Astros with a 1.32 WHIP and 2.71 FIP. A trade of Phil Coke for a cone at the Whippy Dip, and retaining Downs as a bullpen lefty, could have eased some spring pain.
Veras pitched to an 8.10 ERA for the Cubs, and no amount of new-fangled stats can make that look good. His six innings with the Astros however have been in line with his time in Detroit. Houston hopes he can maintain it for two weeks so they can flip him for another prospect. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Benoit's 1.91 ERA looks even better next to a 0.74 WHIP and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He was featured in his own Tigers trade rumor, and may well be again.