You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach just as the rollercoaster reaches its apex and just before you go plummeting back down? That’s exactly the feeling I have as I write this post. It’s a feeling of tremendous excitement and tremendous terror.
There are so many sources to link to in writing this post so instead I will just point you all over to MLBTR where they have a tidy little updated post on the trade. All we are awaiting is an approval of medical records, which likely won’t happen until tomorrow. Other than that, it’s all over but the screaming.
So here it is; the Tigers have agreed to trade RHP Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks and CF Curtis Granderson to the Yankees (I just threw up in my mouth a little). In return, the Tigers will get RHP Max Scherzer and LHP Daniel Schlereth from Arizona along with CF Austin Jackson and LHP Phil Coke from New York. The Yankees will also send RHP Ian Kennedy to the D-backs.
I have no idea why the Diamondbacks wanted to make this trade, but all accounts had them as the ones pushing hard for the deal. Giving up five years of Scherzer and six of Schlereth for two of Jackson and four of Kennedy seems like a bad idea to me, especially when Scherzer and Schlereth both have such upside. But Josh Byrnes had made dumb moves before (see Byrnes, Eric: contract) so maybe that’s just his thing.
The D-backs are getting a still young Jackson who is coming off his best season as a pro, but also one in which he faltered badly in the second half. The Tigers did a nice job capitalizing on Jackson’s value here. Kennedy doesn’t have the electric stuff that really any of the other pitchers in this deal have, but his control and average fastball should play better in the NL West than the AL East anyway.
The Yankees get the outfielder they wanted in Granderson, but I’m not wholly sure on why they wanted him so badly. We all know of Grandy’s “quad 20” season of 2007, but since then he has taken a major step backward at the plate. Look, I love Granderson, but the guy really struggles against lefties. I think he has the talent to yet become the complete player that he should be, maybe a change of scenery will help. Well, that and the very short porch in right field in New York.
As for the Tigers, Dave Dombrowski did better than I think most people will give him credit for here. He traded an erratic pitcher who has had only one great half of a season in his career and a centerfielder who really can only hit righties for four very talented, young, major league ready pieces. Here’s the skinny:
No doubt the centerpiece of this trade. Scherzer is a former first round pick with a great fastball and excellent secondary pitches. His big league record is only 9-15, but he has averaged better than a strikeout per inning while limiting his walks and homers. This kid is the real deal and he’s only 25. Plus he’s under team control for five more seasons. I was shocked when I heard he could be involved in this trade. Shocked.
The son of former NFL Lineman Mark Schlereth, Daniel was another first round pick. He’s just 23 and has a good fastball and has shown the potential to close games. This is more than just a LOOGY. He walked 15 batter in just 18.1 big league innings last year, but fanned 22. In the minors, Schlereth fanned an incredible 13.5 batters per nine innings, but walks were still an issue. If he can harness his command, he may be the steal of this trade.
As recently as the beginning of last season, MLB.com rated Jackson as the 27th best prospect in baseball. He is lightning fast and has a smooth swing. He needs to improve his pitch recognition as strikeouts are a bit of a problem so far, but at age 23, Jackson projects to add power as he matures into a big league hitter. I’ll put it this way: think Granderson about five years ago, but from the right side. Last season at AAA, Jackson hit .300 with a .354 OBP and 24 steals in 28 attempts.
Coke is 27 and has pitched just one full season in the show. Last year he appeared in 72 games for the Yankees, logging 60 innings. He had a sterling 1.067 WHIP thanks in large part to holding LH batters to a paltry .195 batting average and .214 OBP. He has a live arm with a fastball that reaches the low to mid 90s. In the minor leagues, Coke was a starter. He made 20 starts in AA as recently as 2008 and performed very well so he could be converted back to that role as the Tigers ‘pen seems to be crawling with lefties now that he’s on board. I would have preferred to see a starter here, but maybe that’s what Dombrowski is viewing him as. We will see.
Of course many a Tiger fan will be heartbroken these days. First Placido Polanco is allowed to leave town, then they trade away Granderson. Keep the faith good friends. Rest assured that this trade was certainly not all about the money. The Tigers made this deal with an eye on not only being a better club in the future, but guys like Coke, Schlereth and Scherzer will help the 2010 club immensely.
Also be sure to note that the 40 man roster will now feature no less than five left handed relievers, so it’s very likely more moves are coming before the Tigers open camp in the Spring. The one thing that worries me is the idea of handing Jackson a starting job in centerfield. If he struggles, there isn’t really anyone else ready to step in and play everyday out there. I wouldn’t be shocked if Detroit now looked to an inexpensive veteran that can play centerfield. Someone like the Braves’ recently DFA’d Ryan Church.