No one ever said doing the right thing would always be the most popular thing.
Let's just hope Dave Dombrowski is right, because today's trade of Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks sure won't be popular.
The silver lining is that the Tigers will receive a collection of young talent in return. RHP Max Scherzer and LHP Daniel Schlereth will be coming over from Arizona, while the Yankees send back OF Austin Jackson and LHP Phil Coke.
Max Scherzer is a 25-year-old right-hander coming off a 30-start season in which he posted a 4.12 ERA while striking out 174. Scherzer was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft and was rated by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in the Diamondbacks' organization in 2008.
While he has great potential, Scherzer has just one season of major league experience, which means he will have to wait two more years before reaching arbitration eligibility. In other words, the Tigers will get a great talent at a great price.
Left-handed pitcher Daniel Schlereth was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Arizona. He quickly reached the majors and appeared in 21 games for the Diamondbacks in 2009. He has shown the ability to strike out better than a batter per inning through the minors and into the majors. Schlereth began 2009 as the Diamondbacks' third best prospect.
Austin Jackson was ranked 36th on Baseball America's list of the top 100 prospects in 2009, one spot ahead of 2009 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Elvis Andrus. For comparison's sake, Rick Porcello checked in at No. 21.
In addition to being the Yankees' top prospect, Jackson was also the prospect noted as being the best athlete and best defensive outfielder. Reviews of Jackson's game will remind Tigers fans a lot of Curtis Granderson circa 2005.
The Yankees' eighth-rated prospect in 2009 was Phil Coke. He shed the prospect moniker with his solid performances out of the bullpen, including six postseason appearances.
The move has its merits, as the Tigers took a toll financially in 2009 and have one more year to suffer through the bad contracts to Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, and Jeremy Bonderman. With a pile of money already committed to players currently on the roster, the Tigers were forced to make cost-cutting trades.
However popular the names leaving Detroit, Dombrowski deserves some credit for what is coming in return. Given the way Edwin Jackson's second half of 2009 went, Scherzer may be a near equal replacement. Coke and Schlereth have a chance to land roles in the 2010 bullpen, and Austin Jackson gives the Tigers the kind of position player prospect the organization hasn't seen since Granderson.
The effects of a Granderson-less Comerica Park outfield may hurt next season, but Jackson appears to a perfect younger replacement.
All four players acquired today could make significant contributions in 2010 and into the future. Whether or not the trade ultimately helps or hurts the Detroit Tigers organization will be for history to decide.
I can only say this with certainty: It had to be done, it won't be popular, and it might work out.