TigsTown Roundtable: Grading the Trade

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: What's your grade for the Tigers on their 7-player blockbuster trade at the Winter Meetings?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Of course any grade right now on this trade has to be given the caveat that much is still to be determined, especially given the high number of young players the Tigers got back in the deal. That being said, I give the Tigers a B- for the trade they swung with the Yankees and Diamondbacks. From a pure baseball perspective, it probably grades out a bit higher than that, but in taking account the overall picture, trading a player of Granderson's ilk, especially given his off-the-field endeavors, has to be taken into account as well. Even beyond the baseball ambassador role, the bottom line is that Granderson is a fan favorite that helped bring people to the park, and trading a fan favorite can often times hurt attendance in the near term. From a pure baseball perspective, I see trading Edwin Jackson for Max Scherzer as close to a wash with the Tigers getting a bit more ceiling and the D'Backs getting a bit more reliability in Jackson. The key to the deal in my opinion likely ends up falling on the shoulders of the two relievers - Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke. Austin Jackson while a very good prospect, will at best be as good as Granderson (granted with different skills), so for the Tigers to win out, beyond the cost savings, the deal hinges on one or both of the relievers to become key contributors for the club. I'd say there's a good chance that happens, but it's not a lock, and as the team will suffer on the field and at the box office in the near term, that's a minor hit to the overall look of the deal. I still like the players the Tigers got in return, but this wasn't a slam dunk move in my opinion, merely a passing one.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
After about a week to reflect on the blockbuster deal between the Yankees, D'Backs, and Tigers, I still end up with a similar reaction -- or should I say reactions? As a fan of the team and a fan of Curtis Granderson, the emotional response is the immediate and painful one. But as an analyst and member of the media, I feel an obligation to be rational and think this through from all angles. Granderson was a good (not great, mind you) player that was likely somewhere between his electric 2007 and more modest 2009 seasons. Edwin Jackson was a solid pitcher that turned in a spectacular half of baseball; a spectacular half of baseball that was completely out of line with the rest of his big league career. I believe the Tigers sold high on Jackson, but I do not concur with the widely held belief that they sold low on Granderson. The return was not representative of his 2009 season, and it was not representative of his 2007 season, it was somewhere in between; which is right where his value likely resides. Austin Jackson has the potential to be more than Granderson on the field. Granted, that is potential right now, but it is there. At worst, he looks like a guy that should be a solid big league center fielder with a wide range of skills. Phil Coke, at worst, is a solid reliever capable of filling a variety of bullpen roles and appearing 60+ times a season. At best, he's a #4 or #5 starter that eats up league average innings. Daniel Schlereth is a dynamic reliever capable of developing into a top notch closer. Max Scherzer is a hard-throwing right hander with a higher ceiling than Edwin Jackson, though he does come with some risk (as most pitchers do). That's a pretty darn good haul for two solid/good players. In the end, while the fan in me is sad to see someone the ilk of Curtis Granderson leave the Tiger organization, this is still a move that benefits the Tigers; not just now, but heading into the future. I give the trade -- as of right now -- a solid B.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'll give the trade a B. By acquiring Max Scherzer, the Tigers get a young arm with outstanding stuff that will step right into Edwin Jackson's spot, and he'll be under team control for the next five years. Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke give the Tigers two left-handers that gives them depth, and Coke could be used in a starting role if necessary, but Austin Jackson will be the name most fans will watch with a discerning eye, as he'll be Curtis Granderson's long-term replacement. I don't think there is any question the Tigers got talented players in return, but when you move guys like Jackson and Granderson after coming within an eyelash of making the postseason, it's not going to be a move a lot of the populace isn't going to like, so it will be very interesting to see how this deal pans out over the years. Dave Dombrowski said that he wants to get back into developing younger players and putting more resources into the draft and signing international free agents, but if the younger players acquired don't pan out, and the Tigers wind up having to rebuild from scratch, I think there is the possibility he may not be around to see that through. I will say this about Dombrowski. He is certainly not afraid to pull the trigger on any trade if he feels it can help the team, and he is willing to stick his neck out, but this could be the trade that defines ultimately whether or not he stays in Detroit after his contract ends after 2011. One thing to keep in mind is that when Dombrowski and all of his lieutanants' contracts expire in 2011, Mike Ilitch may not be making the final decision (obviously his health will play a paramount role) by himself, so that will be another angle to watch as this unfolds. This is certainly a deal that could very well determine the Tigers' outlook for years to come.

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