Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Trading a team leader, fan favorite and future Hall-of-Famer is never easy, but given the Tigers' current state, the trade made complete sense. Ivan Rodriguez did plenty of good in Detroit, but given his salary and declining production, it was clear the two sides were going to be parting ways at the end of the 2008 season, when Pudge was a free agent. So, with that being understood, the Tigers had the opportunity to go out and move Rodriguez and upgrade another area of the club that was in desperate need. The Tigers might have had the opportunity to bargain for additional players or a sweeter deal, but the Yankees willingness to deal as well as their ability to absorb the remainder of Rodriguez's contract made it an easy match. So, at the end of the day, the Tigers moved a player that wasn't going to be with the team past this season, are able to replace him with someone producing at an almost identical level (.758 OPS for Brandon Inge vs. .756 for Rodriguez), and upgrade a need area. Seeing Rodriguez leave is a sad sight, but this was a good, forward-thinking move by the organization.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Contrary to the overwhelming fan response, this trade makes sense in many contexts, and I agree with it. Ivan Rodriguez wanted to test free agency; he's made that clear. He hits the market and we offer arbitration, then when he realizes he can't get $10 million on the open market (which is what he's almost guaranteed in arbitration), he accepts and we're stuck, because we tried to get draft picks. Catching defense, or offense hasn't been the problem for this team in 2008. Its been pitching, both starting and relieving. The bullpen has been the larger issue of late, and despite some unwarranted disdain for Kyle Farnsworth, he's actually a solid relief pitcher, which helps this team immediately. There's also a reasonable chance that Farnsy is a Type A free agent after the year, so the ability to get draft picks is still there for those clamoring for them. Inge slides into the catchers slot on a daily basis, our defense remains strong, he calls a good game, and he can hit enough that the drop isn't significant from Pudge. This hasn't hurt the club in the short term, or the long term. This is a sign that the organization still believes they are in the mix for the Division, and they're pushing for it, without sacrificing the future of the organization. Good move Dave Dombrowski.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm not a big fan of this trade. The Yankees and Marlins both had big needs at the catching position, and the Tigers could've turned this into a bidding war, with the possibility of getting prospects like Ian Kennedy or Chris Volstad that could've helped this year and beyond, not to mention the possibility of landing other minor leaguers in a trade. There is a great chance that Pudge would've been a Type A free agent, which would've netted a pair of draft picks, and this would've been the criteria I would've used for evaluating trade proposals. Farnsworth has pitched well this year, and he'll help the bullpen, but the only way he can contribute is if the starters can get and hold leads deep enough where he can come in and do his job. Farnsworth is also a free agent at the end of the year, but whether or not he becomes a Type A guy remains to be seen. Farnsworth will help the bullpen, but I really thought the Tigers would be able to do better, especially when you have two teams that were in dire need at that position.
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