Minutes prior to Friday's MLB trade deadline, Yoenis Cespedes was traded to the New York Mets for minor league pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. It completed a process that Tigers fans have quickly taken to, in "rebooting" the roster to remain competitive in the coming years. Combined with dealing away David Price and Joakim Soria, the Tigers now have five new arms and a high-upside bat to slot into their system at various levels.
This is definitely going to be a strange time for fans of a team that has competed in pennant races for the last several years. Tigers fans and writers have woken up on August 1st to see some of their favorite players gone, with a once-barren farm system now showing signs of life. It's a strange new world we live in, and to some it's a more exciting process to follow than others. Let's take a look at some media reactions and analysis to this trade.
James Schmehl of MLive believes that the Tigers made the right move in their decision to sell their proven players. As he argues, Detroit's chances of making the second Wild Card position are very low, and it was better for them to build for the future than continue to fight for now.
Is it possible the Tigers capture a wild card? Sure. Statistically speaking, there's still an 11.5 percent chance, according to Fangraphs. But the odds clearly aren't in their favor, and Dombrowski wasn't willing to mortgage the future on odds that are worse than a coin flip.
Our good friends at Minor League Ball give a quick analysis of the prospects obtained in return for Cespedes. They are especially high on Fulmer.
Some scouts view Fulmer as a future reliever for durability concerns but he has the stuff to be a starter and it increasingly looks like he has the command as well. He's posted an 18/1 K/BB in his last two starts and looks ready for a Triple-A trial. A healthy Fulmer looks like a potentially strong number three starter.
Fangraphs also has an interesting look at the prospects and their projectability. They also like Fulmer and are intrigued by his successful minor league stint in 2015. KATOH, Fangraphs' long-term projection system, estimates 4.8 fWAR for Fulmer through his age-28 season. That may not seem like a lot -- Cespedes has been worth 4.2 fWAR already this year -- but it's a solid future that would rank him among the top 100 prospects in baseball.
Not all people were on board with the Tigers' plan to sell, though. Anyone who watched MLB Network near the deadline would know that Harold Reynolds was firmly against Detroit's retooling plan, citing their close proximity (3.5 games) to the second Wild Card going into yesterday. It was a debate that raged between Tigers fans and writers for the entire month of July. One person who thinks that Detroit should not have sold? Yoenis Cespedes himself. As he told ESPN's Adam Rubin:
"I don't think that was a very smart move. The team is only three games out of the wild card, and there is still a lot of baseball to be played -- about 60 games. I don't think it was a good decision to throw in the towel this early. There's still a lot of baseball to be played. But I know this is a business, and I am sure they know what they're doing."
This could play heavily into negotiations with Cespedes in the offseason. As a free agent, Cespedes will be choosing where to play and would presumably fit well back into the Detroit lineup. However, the left fielder could be frustrated to be going to his fourth team in the last two seasons, and as Chris Iott of MLive points out, re-signing Cespedes in the offseason is far from a sure thing.
Tigers needed mass infusion of pitching -- got five good arms for two stars who'll be FAs in 10 weeks, one of which might be re-signed.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) July 31, 2015
On the Tigers' trade returns, two scout's opinions: "Nice job" and "Good get for rentals."— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) August 1, 2015
Tigers couldn't move Rajai, which surprises me, but I'm very impressed with the haul for Price and Cespedes.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) July 31, 2015