As everyone knows by now, the Tigers acquired Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals for 2 players in A Ball – Julio Rodriguez, a catcher in Lakeland and Antonio Cruz, a sometime starting pitcher for the Whitecaps (don’t feel bad, I said “who?” too). While the players the Tigers gave up may someday end up in the majors, they are both still very young and as we all know, A Ball is a long ways from the majors (unless you are Rick Porcello). Also of note, the Tigers dealt from a position of relative strength here – unlike the Scott Sizemore for David Purcey trade – by trading a catcher (we have a 24 year old starter and have been drafting catchers by the 2s and 3s the past few years it seems) and a left-hander who most likely profiles for the pen.
A very interesting note was revealed yesterday by Jason Beck on Twitter though…the Tigers were aiming much higher than Betemit but had to go with the backup plan when it didn’t work out.
"Without naming names, Dombrowski said #Tigers had been in talks with a team with a 3B that isn’t going anywhere. Read: Aramis Ramirez"
This is significant for two reasons. One, it indicates that the Tigers are/were most likely willing to take on salary as Aramis Ramirez is being paid 14.6 Mill this year and has a club option for 2012 of 16 Mill (according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts). It has been rumored that the Tigers could take on salary in a deal, this puts some proof in the pudding, which opens up the trade possibilities a bit…especially when you figure they could be looking at players who are owed money next year too (although Ramirez’s 2012 IS a club option year with a 2 Mill buyout, similar to the way Peralta’s contract was structured last year). Secondly, and perhaps even more important, the Tigers are shooting high this deadline.
In previous years we have seen the acquisitions of Aubrey Huff, Jarrod Washburn, and Sean Casey to name a few. While Betemit fits into this group’s profile Ramirez is on a completely different level. This is a deviation from deadlines past and is more along the lines of what Dave Dombrowski usually does in the off-season – trading significant pieces for significant pieces. This could be a one time thing as 3b was a pit of despair filled with tears and outs, but I think it is indicative of the bigger picture – the Tigers are willing to pull out the stops to get to the post-season.
While I played off the rumblings of Ubaldo Jiminez to be just that, maybe there is a real shot there. Maybe James Shields COULD be a Tiger (especially since we know he won’t be going to the Red Sox or Yankees). While I still think a guy like Jeremy Guthrie is the most logical fit in Detroit, the possibility of getting an All-Star caliber pitcher in a rotation already consisting of Justin Verlander and the roller-coasters known as Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello is pretty exciting.
The next ten days will be very exciting and nerve-wracking for the Tigers fans who love to talk trades. Who knows, we might not stop at Starting Pitcher…Carlos Beltran sure would look nice in the Old English D.