Wednesday was the sixth anniversary of the trade engineered by the Detroit Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski that brought two-time defending MVP Miguel Cabrera to them from the Miami Marlins. Without a doubt Dombrowski is a master of his craft but his two big trades this off season have raised some eyebrows in and around baseball.
Dombrowski dealt first baseman Prince Fielder and $30 million to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The deal fills the Tigers need for a second baseman with Omar Infante being a free agent and unlikely to be resigned. It also saves the Tigers $76 million on Fielder’s contract which runs for seven more seasons at an average of $24 million per year.
With that some of that $76 million Dombrowski added free agent closer Jon Nathan to the Tigers. Nathan agreed to a two-year deal for $20 million with a club option for a third year.
“We’re thrilled to have him on board,” Dombrowski said. “We tried to address our closing situation this winter and we’ve come up with one of the best in the game.” -via the Detroit News
The signing of Nathan comes on the heels of the Tigers dealing starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals on Monday. Detroit received left-handed reliever Ian Krol, left-handed minor league starting pitcher Robbie Ray and utility man Steve Lombardozzi.
By trading Fister it allows left-hander Drew Smyly to return to the Tigers rotation after spending last season in their bullpen. Detroit featured an all right-handed starting rotation last season. Krol will replace Smyly in the Tigers bullpen. Ray is projected to be a middle of the rotation starting pitcher. Lombardozzi joins Don Kelly as key reserves on the Tigers bench.
If the Tigers don’t make another big splash in free agency it is a likely indicator that they will use the money they saved by trading Fielder to resign the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and or Cabrera as well. Scherzer is a free agent after next season and Cabrera will be one after the 2015 season.
Dombrowski also indicated that Cabrera would move back to first base next season and rookie Nick Castellanos will get the first shot at third base.
One thing is for certain don’t ever count out Dombrowski from making a deal or signing a free agent that he thinks will help make the Tigers better.
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