Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/30/13
July arrives and the Tigers grab their cash and credit cards. They go shopping. And in the spirit of past summers they traded young blood for playoff-grade quality Monday when they brought on Jose Veras from the Astros in a swap that cost them talented 19-year-old outfielder Danry Vasquez as well as an expendable player to be named later. Dave Dombrowski might be baseball’s best general manager at pulling off July deals even in a market as tough as tight and as high-retail as is the 2013 shopping mall which closes to non-waiver deals at 4 p.m. Wednesday. And the Tigers’ front-office chief did an artful job of getting his man at a time when trading clubs are demanding the moon and a few additional planets. What the Tigers landed Monday was a high-powered arm and probable solution to their back-end bullpen wobbles. Veras 32 had a 2.93 earned-run average and 19 saves in 42 games for a last-place Astros team. Those are strong numbers on a bad team as are his 44 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43 innings during which he has allowed only 29 hits. It is important and part of Dombrowski’s strategy that Veras is a closer. While the Tigers are grateful and relieved Joaquin Benoit has become their ninth-inning fireman settling a job that had been in flux since last season they are dealing with reality. Benoit is 36. The Tigers have been careful in calibrating his workloads. Veras eases the pressure there when he can move into a ninth-inning role if necessary and allow Benoit to work less demandingly with Drew Smyly at the top of Detroit’s eighth-inning corps. The price was steep. Vasquez 19 was a Venezuelan teen so talented the Tigers gave him $1 million to sign three years ago. He is 6 foot 3 173 pounds bats left-handed and could become a star. Supply and demand The Tigers also knew what they were doing. They have a phalanx of young outfield prospects some of whom could evolve into good hitters and better two-way players than Vasquez who at the moment is not a strong defender. Nick Castellanos who will move to third base as soon as Miguel Cabrera shifts to first base designated hitter — or perhaps at some point to another team — is the first-chair prospect there. Avisail Garcia is set to assume right field as quickly as Torii Hunter departs 15 months from now.
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