Al Avila has made some really bad trades over the years. He refused to extract international signing money in any trade and was simply been abused badly by other GM’s because of his desperate desire to shed salary.
That was then and this is now:
Tigers now have a top 5 minor league system, landed some nice players for nothing but cash. That’s right. Kris Draper knows the felling right? Akil Baddoo cost the Tigers $100,000 and Eric Haase cost the tigers an "undisclosed" amount of cash. I love the phrase "cash considerations". What exactly does that mean in terms of cash? How much did they pay Cleveland? I can’t imagine it would be more than the Rule 5 cost so let’s say for argument sake, $100,000. These two players have had more impact on the Tigers season than the JD and Castellanos trade COMBINED!
Al Avila is the most frustrating GM in baseball and just when you want to just chuck him out of town, he does some good things that no one will ever come to his defense. Since his hiring late 2015, he had the dubious task of dismantling the entire organization and selling off everything he could. He was destined to disappoint and to underperform. He got the Tigers to the bottom quickly and from that point started drafting more upside players instead of high floor guys. Dave Dombrowski’s strategy was high floor guys and trade them before they get exposed. He signed every high price d free agent and that worked. Al Avila had the opposite opportunity. Sell everything, draft completely different and rebuild it all. Now that he has had his 6th draft and you can see the building blocks, you have to start giving him some credit. It doesn’t absolve him from past performances but you can at least understand what he inherited, what he had to do to change things and where he is at now. FRUSTRATING!
The lack of trades at the deadline is actually a good thing. He actually read the room correctly and proceeded to make trades that made sense. Norris was the center piece of the Price trade not Cessa or Boyd. He was supposed to be this dominant LHP that would be in the Tigers rotation for years to come. 3 years of injuries and a reduced role in the bullpen, he was finally useful but no longer considered a starting pitcher. He was going to be a FA and he wants to find a team that will allow him to try starting again. He was leaving and Al Avila did get something when he wasn’t going to get anything otherwise. You can make the case that Candalario, Grossman, Schoop, Cisnero, Urena, Soto, could have been moved for something but that something would not have been anything but a Jose King flyer with a 5 year waiting period.
I think allowing this team to stay together the rest of the year and sprinkling in a few more minor leaguers to get a look at is fine and it fits the situation. The Tigers need to win 70+ games to have something to build upon for next year. I am glad that Al Avila didn’t have a dump salary mandate or decided that trading away some players for junk was more important than getting people excited again about TIGER BASEBALL!
The Tigers have plenty of money to spend and more rookies to bring up for the next wave. I think they might bring up Torkelson and Greene for a cup of coffee in September and then give them a chance to make the team in the spring. I don’t think they need to be promoted to AAA this year. Let them win at AA and stay together. If they don’t make the team out of the spring, then assign them to AAA next year.
Two Free Agents to target:
Carlos Correa and Justin Verlander
I know Carlos Correa might cost $350 Million over 10 years and some teams might offer the same contract and be ready to win. I have a unique solution for that problem. The Tigers are so far under the luxury cap that they could front load this contract and beat any top team that tries to match it. If they try, they would be in luxury tax hell. Tigers could offer Carlos Correa 80 million signing bonus (poison pill 1) and 20 million a year for the first 5 years, give him a 5 year no trade clause, Year 6 give him another 40 million signing bonus (poison pill 2) 20 million a year for years 6,7,8,9 and here’s the final poison pill (3) 50 million in year 10. Why structure it this way? First, by front loading it with an 80 million signing bonus and a 20 million salary, very few teams could match that and still be able to add other players and if they tried would go far over the luxury cap. The Tigers can take on the full 100 million in year 1 and only be at 137 million a still have plenty of money to stay under the 210 million Luxury Cap. The top 15 teams are all over 150 million so adding 100 million in that first year is a poison pill that only a bottom tier team could match. Only the Tigers have the type of team that is ready to come out of the bottom and head to the top on the next two years. That last poison pill is year 10. Why have 50 million in year 10? The Tigers are made for a 5 or 6 year run and if they want to trade Correa after his no trade clause is gone after year 5, teams would only be paying 20 million a year in year 6, 7, 8, 9 before the final poison pill in year 10. The Tigers could trade him and get back a huge haul because teams would be willing to pay only 20 million the first 4 years to try to win it all. Having one back end poison pill will help the Tigers to escape 130 million of the 350 million contract and would still be in position to trade him for a haul. Teams trading for him in year 6 or 7 are not going to worry about the last year when you can get a high level player for 20 million a year for 3 or 4 years. Of course, if the Tigers hold onto him past year 6, the trade becomes much harder. By year 8, they might have to throw in some money. In the meantime, having Correa signed for 20 million salary will allow them to add pieces to win a championship, Front-loading the contract Is key to building this championship and for securing the player. I don’t see another team being as aggressive and Hinch is final key to getting him. Get Carlos and JV and we can start thinking division title in 2022.