April 6, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) receives his 2013 American League Championship ring from president/general manager David Dombrowski before the game against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Since Dave Dombrowski took over the General Manager position for the Detroit Tigers, he has constantly made bold, under-the-radar moves that have helped the team both in the present and in the future. Some examples include the signing of Ivan Rodriguez in 2004 which catapulted the Tigers from bottom-dwellers in the American League to perennial playoff and World Series Contenders. The signing of Magglio Ordonez in 2005 was another bold move that Dombrowski made in order to change the culture of the Tigers permanently, along with the trade of 24 year-old Miguel Cabrera, who as we all know, has turned out to be a pretty special player here.
Along with these bold moves, Dombrowski has made many smaller trades that have turned out extremely well for the Tigers; these trades usually have consisted of trading from a position of strength to acquire a position of weakness. In the 2007 offseason, he traded Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson (who might I add had the best year of his career in the one year he spent with the Tigers). Going into the year, the Tigers had many options at the corner outfield spots, but the rotation was looking very weak with only Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, and Armando Galarraga the only ones that had earned a rotation spot.
The trade filled a large void in the starting rotation, while still leaving enough viable options in the corner outfield. In 2009, with the Tigers trying to shed some payroll, the now famous three-team deal was made which sent Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson away, with Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke coming to the Tigers. Of course, at the time of the trade many Tigers fans were left stunned and disappointed that fan-favorite Granderson was traded, but looking back at the trade, the Tigers have decisively come out winners of that trade with Scherzer probably the favorite to win the Cy Young award this year, and Jackson a mainstay in center field and at the lead-off spot for the Tigers. Also in 2009, the Tigers traded for Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff to try and solidify their roster as they headed toward the post-season (which they didn’t make thanks to game 163).
These were two rare moves that did not work out for the Tigers, but thankfully no player of significance was lost. In 2010, Jhonny Peralta was traded from the Indians to the Tigers for a low-level prospect. Peralta filled in for the injured Brandon Inge the remainder of that year, and was re-signed to be the Tigers’ shortstop for the next few years, and has done an admirable job, putting up 9.2 baseball-reference WAR over the 3+ years he has been in Detroit. Of course, Peralta is likely to be suspended, with the announcement coming roughly when this article comes out, which leads me to this year’s trade deadline.
With Dombrowski knowing full well a suspension was not only possible, but likely for his starting shortstop, he traded another fan-favorite (although still a prospect) in Avisail Garcia to acquire the hopeful shortstop of the future, slick fielding Jose Iglesias. This move not only solidifies the shortstop position this year, with either Ramon Santiago, Danny Worth, or Argenis Diaz (all yuck) likely to otherwise take over, but it also gives the Tigers a solid option at short for the next five years (on the cheap, nonetheless). With the Tigers also needing an extra piece in the bullpen this year to spell Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit, Dombrowski aquired Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for minor-league outfielder Danry Vasquez. Jose Veras is also not a rental, as he has a very mild $3.5 million club option next year, which the Tigers are very likely to pick up. This article does not even cover the trades for Doug Fister, Omar Infante, and Anibal Sanchez, who have all been great for the Tigers in their time here. I’m sure there are other smaller trades I am missing, which just goes to show how active Dombrowski has been on the trade front as GM of the Detroit Tigers. For as much bashing as he gets (very undeservedly so, in my opinion), Dombrowski has shown time and time again he can turn to the trade market at any time, and shore up weaknesses to make the team stronger both in the present and in the future.