Detroit Tigers: The Five Best Trades in Franchise History
By Andy Patton
Detroit acquires Carlos Guillen from Seattle in exchange for Ramon Santiago and Juan Gonzalez
This is probably my favorite trade in Tigers history. In January of 2004, coming off the worst season in franchise history, the Tigers decided to shake things up. They dealt their starting shortstop from 2003, Ramon Santiago, along with minor leaguer Juan Gonzalez to the Mariners to acquire Carlos Guillen.
At the time, Guillen was a six-year veteran who had hit .264 with a 93 OPS+ in his career. However, the Tigers saw something in him they liked and pulled the trigger.
Guillen instantly went on to become one of the best shortstops in Tigers history. He hit .318 with 20 home runs and 12 stolen bases the following year, making the first of three All-Star games and finishing 24th in MVP voting.
Santiago’s Path Home
Ramon Santiago makes this trade. After going to Seattle, he only played in 27 games from 2004-2005. He hit an abysmal .170/.291/.191 and was released in November of 2005. The Tigers decided to give Santiago another chance, signing him in January of 2006. To add insult to injury (to the Mariners) Santiago developed into a high quality utility infielder.
From 2006-2013, Santiago hit .250/.318/.343 with a 7.0 bWAR. While he was no means elite, he certainly filled a valuable role for the Tigers.
Getting Carlos Guillen for a player who ended up back in the Motor City just two years later was one of the best deals in franchise history, and helped Detroit exceed expectations and go all the way to the World Series in 2006.