Tigers Hit The Jackpot in Granderson Trade

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2009

DETROIT - OCTOBER 1:  Curtis Granderson #28 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout against the Minnesota Twins during the game on October 1, 2009 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

When I saw the trade yesterday that sent Clay Rapada from the Detroit Tigers to the Texas Rangers, I thought it might have been the start of something.  It was like the calm before the storm.

And sure enough, today the storm came through as Detroit sent Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson their separate ways, in a three-team blockbuster deal.  Granderson was sent to the New York Yankees, while Edwin Jackson was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And, while I’m fully expecting the city of Detroit to riot, I actually like the trade for the Tigers.

Curtis Granderson was the face of the Detroit Tigers team for the last few years and while I understand that he was a fan favorite and one of our more reliable players, he wasn’t getting any better.

Granderson batted a career low .249 last year, the lowest since becoming a full time starter in 2006. He’s always been a solid fielder, but his woes against left-handed pitchers made him an offensive liability.

He struck out more than once every four at-bats in 2009 and became more of a power hitter rather than a leadoff hitter. 

But let’s be honest, he was never meant to be a leadoff hitter.

Curtis Granderson was very philanthropic in his time with the Tigers, but matter of fact, this guy is getting older and his numbers aren’t improving. 

His attractive salary made him a highly-touted player in this offseason and the Tigers did a good job on getting some value in return.

In return for Granderson, the Tigers acquired Austin Jackson, who is billed to be Granderson’s eventual replacement in center field.

Jackson hit .300 in 2009 for the Yankees’ AAA affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  He hit four homers to go with nine triples and 23 doubles. 

Along with those offensive numbers, Jackson also had 24 stolen bases, which is what the Tigers need to replace Granderson’s mix of speed and offensive ability.  Jackson did strike out 123 times in 2009, however.

Austin Jackson is six years younger than Granderson and is just one of multiple players acquired for Granderson’s services. Yet, he has the potential to become everything that Curtis Granderson was in Detroit and more.

Also acquired in the trade, was Phil Coke a relief pitcher who has been with the Yankees for the last two years. He will be another player that can make an impact in the Tigers’ bullpen. 

Now that the Tigers could potentially lose both Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, replenishing the bullpen is a must.

In 72 appearances, Coke threw 60 innings for the Yankees, boasting a 4.50 ERA and 49 strikeouts. Opposing players batted just over .200 against the southpaw in 2009. 

Not only does he have plenty of regular season experience, but Coke also pitched in six postseason games in 2009, allowing only two earned runs.

Daniel Schlereth, relief pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, was also acquired in today’s trade.  Schlereth pitched in 21 outings last year for the Diamondbacks, despite being just 23 years old. 

Schlereth has the potential to be the Tigers’ future closer, which is crucial as this team looks to rebuild through the farm system and with the continuing theme of replenishing the bullpen

Along with filling the void that trading Curtis Granderson left, the Tigers needed to get a starting pitcher to fill the void that Edwin Jackson’s departure left. 

Welcome to Detroit, Max Scherzer.

Scherzer, a first round selection in 2006, made his way up the professional baseball ladder quite fast, becoming a full-time starter in 2009.

He posted a 9-11 record with a 4.12 ERA and 174 strikeouts.  He has the potential to become a very good starting pitcher in the MLB and quite possibly, better than Edwin Jackson.

Jackson had a very successful 2009 campaign with the Tigers, but the chances that he was going to repeat such success was very unlikely. 

As the season progressed, Jackson started slowing down and being that he would be up for arbitration at the year’s end, his value was highest now.

Trading Jackson is a prime example of the “buy low, sell high” philosophy and Dave Dombrowski felt that negotiating an extension with the notorious Scott Boras was not something he wanted to do.  Now, the Tigers get a guy who’s a year younger and one who has more upside than Jackson.

While this upcoming season may not be a pretty one in Detroit, the future is bright in Tiger Town.  It will be interesting to see the development of the players acquired in the trade and how much of an impact they will have in their first seasons with the club.

I don’t expect Jackson to be playing with the big club in his first year, but possibly in his second or third year. Coke and Schlereth could make an immediate impact in 2010, which could be a bright spot for this trade next year.

However, I fully expect Max Scherzer to be in the team’s rotation and for him to make 30 starts and win more than half of those that he qualifies in.

The Tigers are now in rebuilding mode and with the plethora of salary coming off in the next couple of years, I expect this team to make a comeback in the next few years.  With some free agency acquisitions and the development of the minor league players, they could be competing for the AL Central division title again in just a few years.


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