I’m confused. Very confused. Unless you’re the Chicago White Sox, you usually determine whether your team is a buyer or a seller and you react accordingly. The Tigers appear to have an identity crisis because with each move they make, it appears they swing from one side to the other. At the end of the day, some of the Tigers moves make sense while others don’t but when you take them all as a whole, the strategy just doesn’t make sense to me.
I feel the first big move wasn’t what the Tigers did, but what they didn’t and that was to offer Placido Polanco arbitration. I still think this was a no brainer but the Tigers defied my expectations and let him loose without any compensation. Polanco was the first guy to sign after the arbitration deadline and the end result was the Tigers get nothing for their troubles for the second year in a row (i.e. Edgar Renteria, although I think they made the right move by not offering him arbitration). I thought this was a no-brainer because I could have lived with another year of Polanco at second. They could have always traded him (although he may be a 10/5 player so I’m not sure if he could block it. He spent his fifth year with the Tigers in 2009 but his first year was only half a season and I don’t know well enough how those rules work) to get compensation. I also just don’t know if Scott Sizemore is the answer this year.
Then they made the big trade. The Tigers went in looking to dump some salary but they resisted a fire sale and put together a nice little three way trade. They save some money, but they also got some nice parts. When you take these two moves together, the Tigers appear to be in a little bit of a rebuilding phase and you could hope they were freeing up money to sign Justin Verlander to a long term deal.
Then they go sign Jose Valverde to, in my opinion, an overpriced deal. They also lose their first round draft pick and they go full circle and put themselves into the buyer category. My concern is they saw what was going on in the division, saw they can still compete, then reacted to show that they were still trying to contend in 2010. I still think the Tigers have the arms to where they don’t need Valverde but someone must have wanted that closer bad for the amount we’re paying.
Of course there’s always the TBD (to be determined) because the Tigers may not be done. Spring training is about a month away so it’ll be interesting to see how things go down.