Roundtable: Prospect That Got Away

This week's Roundtable question thinks back to some of the key trades the Tigers have made over the past few years. Which one prospect, regardless of return, do you wish the Tigers had kept in their past couple years of trades?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor

Given the volume of trades the Tigers have made, the list of options for this list is long. And the guy that I think the Tigers would desperately love to have back is shortstop Willy Adames. Athletic players that can field either left side of the infield and hit for average and power just don't grow on trees, and that's exactly what Adames is. With Nick Castellanos and Jose Iglesias there currently, there isn't an immediate need, but Adames is still two or three years away from being ready to contribute at the big league level, and with a GM like dealer Dave, there's no telling how long either play will remain (or if Castellanos will hit more, or if Iglesias will stay healthy).

Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting

The easy answer here is Jake Thompson, as he has drawn the most national acclaim since being dealt last summer, but given his overall inconsistencies and my projection of him as a 3/4 starter, I'm not sure how broken up I should be that he's gone. If you give up a potential mid-rotation arm that still carries a fair amount of risk, and in return you end up getting the guy that's going to lock down the 9th inning for your playoff contending team the following year, that's not a bad exchange. In reality, the only player the Tigers have dealt that has potential as a true impact talent is outfielder Avisail Garcia. Again, the Tigers appear to have gotten a strong return with Jose Iglesias coming their way, but Garcia could be a beast at his peak. Blessed with contact ability and raw power, Garcia has finally begun to reign in his approach to put his offensive tools to good use, and he backs that up with a really strong defensive profile in right field. Garcia represents both the toughest player to give up in recent years, but also the epitome of the "you have to give something to get something" cliche. Ten years from now, if I had to wager on one player that the Tigers would regret trading, it would be Avisail Garcia.

James Chipman, Senior Correspondent

Without question, Jacob Turner never should have been dealt away. He's undoubtedly the easy selection here; his career has been outstanding thus far. I joke, I joke. I kid, I kid. On a serious note, everything considered the Tigers do an exceptional job turning rather mediocre prospects into proven big leaguers via the trade market. That being said, if you scroll back far enough in my Twitter timeline, you'll find my hellacious temper tantrum thrown when the Tigers dealt away Jake Thompson. I had the pleasure of observing most of his starts last season in Lakeland, and regardless of what the numbers currently say, the Rangers got one helluva pitcher in that deal. The return has yielded phenomenal results this season for the Tigers, as Joakim Soria has dominated the ninth inning; regardless, Jake Thompson was "the one that got away".

Neil Weinberg, Senior Analyst

Jake Thompson. Fortunately, Thompson was a member of the Joakim Soria deal, so the return feels somewhat worthwhile, but Thompson is a classic case of a pitching prospect flying under the radar because of a perception about his stuff that wasn't really true. Even before his 2014 season, when I asked other organizations about Thompson, their reports were much higher on him than the consensus public opinion. It's simple, guys who don't throw 96 are undervalued as prospects if their best non-fastball is a changeup instead of a breaking ball. Thompson looks the part of a mid-rotation starter with a relatively high floor, which is the kind of player I wish the Tigers would collect a little more.

Chris Brown, Staff Writer

This is a really great question, and it highlights how infrequently the Tigers have been hurt by trading away prospects in the Dombrowski era. Jair Jurrjens gave the Braves two very solid years before he fell apart physically. Matt Joyce developed into a quality outfielder, though mostly in a platoon role, and he was turned into Edwin Jackson and then Max Scherzer, so no one should cry about him leaving. Few other traded prospects have done anything of note in the majors. There are a handful of interesting candidates from just the last three years, but for me it has to be Jake Thompson. He's having a bit of a rough year in AA, but if he were to magically reappear in the system, he'd instantly be the best pitching prospect in the organization. The Tigers have a ton of future money wrapped up in just five players, and it seems likely both David Price and Alfredo Simon will leave in the offseason, so another solid, cost-controlled young arm would be very valuable in the years to come.

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