December 1, 2012

Warming Up for Winter Meetings Madness (or Malaise)

I love the July 31 trade deadline and all the hullabaloo surrounding it. But for my money, the Winter Meetings are the most fascinating off-field event of the year.

The July trade deadline is a blast, though it seems that we are rarely surprised by a deal that comes down then. Most of the summertime trades, it seems, have been rumored for a while and generate little surprise. As it relates to the Tigers, though, it’s interesting to see how far ahead of the July deadline Dave Dombrowski can swing a trade (July 30 for the 2011 Doug Fister deal, July 23 for the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante swap. Mid-July for a ’13 trade?)

But despite the November anomaly of the Marlins and Blue Jays megadeal, historically the Winter Meetings have delivered Tigers blockbusters like the 2007 Miguel Cabrera trade or the one two years later that sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and brought Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Phil Coke to Detroit. (Randy Smith swung the six-for-three Juan Gonzalez/Justin Thompson deal in November 1999.)

I’m hoping the Tigers hold off on any deal that involves Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, Casey Crosby or any other high-end prospect. The addition of Torii Hunter and the return of Victor Martinez helps the batting order and in Hunter’s case, bolsters the outfield defense. My choice would be to sign Stephen Drew and maybe, maybe, go after Angel Pagan* and let it ride.

I’m ready for a fun week.

*This ain’t happenin’.

Notable Hot Stove Moves 

1975: The Tigers acquired Dave Roberts, Jim Crawford and Milt May from the Astros for Gene PentzMark Lemongello, Terry Humphrey and Leon Roberts.

1977: In an unfortunate deal, Detroit acquired Jim Slaton and LHP Rich Folkers from the Brewers for Ben Oglivie. After winning 17 games for Ralph Houk‘s last Tigers club in ’78 season, Slaton, a free agent, re-signed with the Brewers. He rejoined the Tigers for 22 games in mid-1986 after being released by the Angels.

1979: Jim Campbell finally got his left-handed starter when acquired Dan Schatzeder (who turns 58 today) from the Expos for Ron LeFlore. Schatzeder spent two unremarkable seasons in Detroit going 17-21 with a 5.04 ERA. He was with the Tigers until …

1981: The Tigers traded Schatzeder and Mike Chris to the Giants for Larry Herndon.

1996: Randy Smith engineered his first multi-player trade (and one of seemingly dozens with the Astros) when he acquired Todd Jones, Doug Brocail, Orlando Miller, Brian Hunter and cash money from Houston for Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski, Brad Ausmus and Daryle Ward.

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