Dombrowski explains "adjustments"

No fire-sale terminology, no direct reference to the economy. But in explaining the trade that sent Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson out of Detroit and brought in four young players, Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski conveyed the idea that this was a move that had to be made.

“The reality is, no matter what, we needed to make some adjustments,” Dombrowski said. “In almost any scenario, it’s a necessity. But it’s also one of those where we’re in a very good situation with a quality owner that projects to have a really solid payroll as we go forward. But at some point, adjustments needed to be made, and this was the time to do it for us.”

Part of the necessity, while the Tigers won’t talk about it, comes from the Michigan economy. But the other impetus, which Dombrowski admits, came from a huge payroll over the last two years and contracts that have weighed down the organization.

They were very revealing remarks, and they set up this move as the counterbalance to the trade for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis that came out of the Winter Meetings two years ago in Nashville.

“We made a lot of trades over the recent years where we traded a lot of young players for guys to help our big league club,” Dombrowski said. “The Cabrera deal, we traded six young guys. [For] Sheffield, we traded some. …

“When you come on board, you try to turn a franchise’s philosophies around. The Tigers lost for a lot of years. I don’t think people sometimes realize how difficult that can be to do. When you’re losing, there’s usually reasons behind it. One of the things is that you need to upgrade your talent, and our scouts have done a tremendous job at that. But while you’re upgrading, you don’t have the flow of free agents to help your big league club, so you sign some free agents. We made some trades.

“I know myself the last few years, I think what we’ve done well through our time is bring in young players and develop them and bring them up. We kind of got away from it, because we were just in a position where [we asked] what can we do to get this final piece. And I think that this gives us an opportunity to go back to building like we would like and set the foundation.”

He’s ready to take the criticism for trading the known quantity for the unknown, as he put it. But he’s also ready to take the criticism for some of the contracts they made to try to win now.

“Hey, we made some signings that haven’t worked out for us,” Dombrowski said. “And we’re almost through it. But at the time, people thought they were good signings. And sometimes, when you’re making adjustments, unfortunately, they affect you in a different way. Everybody has bad signings on their books, but we’re in a position where some of it’s due to injury.

“I’ve seen it written: Jeremy Bonderman — bad signing. Jeremy Bonderman was one of the best young pitchers in baseball at the time. Now, there’s others that haven’t worked out as well. But really, what ends up happening is, we’re working through that, too, but we’re one year away from working through it real well. And this sets us up to do it.”

16 Comments

I agree Bondo was not a bad signing, he has just been hurt. A few years ago when we were in the thick of things, I heard serveral pundents say that if they were building a club they would have Bondo on their roster. Well he has been hurt, but not a bad signing. Actually the only one that I will throw him under the bus for is Dontrelle, and not the original trade, but the extension. That was a bad move.
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Still don’t know if I will renew my tickets, I am really mad.

Do I like the trade? No. Am I still a die hard Tiger fan? Yes.
My kids got me a Granderson home jersey last year. He was my Tiger. You all know I am not a Jim Leyland fan. I think we should have made the playoffs. I also remember prior to 2006 we did not have a winning record for 10+ years. I am not sure about DD. There are good trades and bad trades and I am not a big fan of trades. Give me the draft and some good scouts. Most of the schools are closed today because of snowing and blowing. Baseball season means Spring and good weather, I can’t wait! Go Tigers 2010! –Dave

I just hope the new guys work out for us and the veterans get over themselves and embrace them. It will be a tremendous opportunity for some of the new ones, trying to prove themselves and if they are truly talented, we should see some good baseball. I hate losing marquis players like Grandy and Jackson, but we still have some great players. Spring training should be a lot of fun this year watching all these hungry newcomers. What else can Dave say? Dontrelle was probably the worst contract, imo. Probably should have gone with a 2 or 3 year contract around 12 mil. A former Cy winner. He just fell apart.

Wind chill is around 0 degrees here in Michigan. Spring can’t come soon enough.

As I write this, I’m in the middle of a VERY storm tossed North Atlantic. I mean, this ship is bouncing up and down like a Tiger fan’s emotions during 2009. :-)
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I haven’t had the opportunity to research the players received in this deal so I don’t have anything on that until this weekend. For now, I’ll just say this: I realize everyone is shocked, upset, or both. I’m partially both myself. However, I also realize that when baseball season rolls around again, I’ll be there because I love the game. The Tigers are the team I use to follow the game. I think most of you will be there with me.
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See ya this weekend.
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–Rich

I hate losing Curtis due to the person he is and what he can still become on the field. He spends more time signing autographs than anyone I see. I think he will get back to the .300 hitting range while keeping his power. I think the World Baseball Classic and traveling for MLB last summer hurt his development. That being said, they did receive a good package for him.
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It is the Jackson part of the trade that they did not get enough. They basically traded Ian Kennedy and Edwin for an unproven starter and reliever. I figure because of Kennedy operation last year for the same issue as Bondo that they did not want him. Does Jackson’s agent hurt his trade value that much?
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Mark

Great point on Granderson and the WBC, Mark. While it has been mentioned many times as a reason behind the off years from Galarraga, Magglio and Guillen, it’s easily forgotten that Granderson was on Team USA — and didn’t even play half the time.

What about Scott Posednik? Anything to the rumors about the Tigers being interested.

Yesterday, I had 2 teeth pulled at the dentist’s office. He even let me look at them. Now I can give them names: Curtis and Edwin. I was prescribed painkillers, but didn’t need them. Only one of them was a tad painful. I still have 1 more that needs to be pulled. Wonder what I’ll name that one?

It’s been a while. To all of my old friends from ’06, I wish you well.

Much has been made of the trading by DD. I gotta say, what he has done says one thing to this old Manager, and viewer of all things: DD must have some sort of job security. He’s just about given up on ’10. THAT’S a guy who has job security.

Personally, I think his moves were MORE than solid.

If I am DD, and I am looking at the overall strength of my organization, I’d come to the same conclusions. I’m looking at the possibility of an incredibly SOLID starting pitching staff, starting in ’11 and coming to fruition in ’12. Verlander(the money is cleared for a historic signing), Porcello, Crosby, Turner, Oliver……..and now Sherzer. Throw in some potential 5th starters like Marte and Bonine………and chances are outstanding the Tigers will have 3 #1’s. Maybe more. PLUS…………….more than a couple of # 2’s. A 5 man rotation that will positively dominate.

Now……………add to that, the “relief pitcher” draft of ’08. Which will be coming of age, in ’11 and ’12. On top of those guys, fine add-ons such as Ni, Schlereth, and the potential of Zumaya.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see a VERY dominant 12 man Tiger pitching staff, at the latest, by ’12. In fact, I’d bet on it. PLUS, the home field advantage of playing in COPA 81 games a year(very kind to a great pitching staff.)

Now…………..ya fill the field with players. Letting Polanco go makes TOTAL sense. Who cares how he plays in ’10? We need to find out if Sizemore is the real deal. We’ll know by September of ’11. We’ll also know about young Austin Jackson. Also, if Ramirez ever takes the next step, if Wells is anything more’n a 5th outfielder, and by then if Fields will make a difference. Also, if Avila is a mirage, or a player.

The budget will be small. Filling in any gaps will be more’n easy by ’11. All of the mistakes will be wiped off the books.

Ya see………………..DD looked at his best options, and saw that they would all come to fruition in the end of ’11, and ’12. So, he took his best two assets(EJ and Granderson)and traded them off for players who would align with the best of what the Tigers had.

Is it a gamble? Of course. EVERY GM gambles. Cashman gambled that CC would leave his horrific post season history behind him. Gambled $100MM, he did.

This is a gamble by DD, but it’s a logical. He’s getting his dominant pitching staff to align with whatever positional players he has that have a good upside, with a budget that will allow him to fill in the gaps.

It could wind up being brilliant. Thet pitching talent is there. We just need a little luck in the injury department, and for our youngsters to keep developing.

Trading Curtis is our Tigers darkest hour for some. Without most knowing it, it could be our brightest moment .

There’s a big thing brewing. And, I’ve NEVER said that in all of my 50 years of being a Tiger fan.

With this pitching staff, I think DD is building the kind of squad that could win 3 titles in 5 years. Unprecedented in Tigers history.

All still young. All

With our new lineup we’ll have 6 automatic outs and one intentional walk plus Mags-whatever he does-especially since we allowed our top two top-of the-lineup hitters to leave (how ‘s our left handed lineup looking with Guillen virtually gone). On top of that we get to search the next ten years for another leadoff hitter. Remember, Granderson was our first real leadoff hitter (some may not like him there) since Tony Philips-1990-94. Also, for those calling for homegrown talent-which I am, Granderson was one of the first homegrown All Star positional players that we have developed since Travis Fryman (maybe Bobby Higginson some might argue). But we did the exact same with Fryman. We shipped him off in 1997 to Arizona to get talent (for Matt Drews (minors), Gabe Alvarez and Joe Randa). How’d that work out? We’ve got pitching, but how many 1-0 games do we need our starters to pitch-before they give out. Then we turn it over to our closer. Oh that’s right, we don’t have one-not even “coaster” Jones or “Shaky” Rodney-detractors are going to miss them. We’ll turn it over to a broken shoulder Zumaya or a rookie or maybe my all time favorite, “the always successful” “Closing by committee”. Oh wait, John Smoltz is available. He’ll come in to save the day as Dombrowski figures he is finally back home after being set “adrift” 20+ years ago. He probably has plenty left. Or maybe dime store veterans Mesa or Percival are still available? Finally, Dombrowski’s wonderful drafts have netted plenty of talented pitchers to stock the minors-which is a commodity held in high demand. Then just trade them for the positional player you need. How’s that working? We traded SP Jurgins for SS Renteria, got 2B Polanco (an absolute true All Star/Silver Slugger/Gold Glove player) for RP Urbina eventually losing Polanco with no return value (not even a draft pick), and SP Jeff Weaver (we got 1B Pena, RP German, and SP Bonderman-which is probably a push, unless you consider we gave up on Pena who is now an All Star/MVP candidate/Gold Glove now). What is ironic about this is, the heavy emphasis on drafting pitchers and we still have to give up our most (and only) talented home grown positional talent of the decade for more “potential” pitching and one “potential” centerfielder (can anyone spell Cameron Maybin). Not a fire sale? No just a CYA because of absolutely stupid contracts given at the worst time. What this will teach us is that, no MLB player in Detroit will have any long tenure to be remembered and cheered for because the long contracts given have bitten us and made all of us suffer-never to be repeated again! Dombrowski paused a few seconds, then said:“It’s difficult to make deals when you know players. I used to do this on a regular basis. We just haven’t done this in Detroit as much. It’s tough to trade people who you know and like and represent you well.
……for POTENTIAL! (the Lions have potential) The only difference between the Tigers and the Yanks or Bosox is the last two have talent and the Tigers have “potential” and now a lower payroll.

Well, we still have Brandon! It is heartbreaking to see your favorite players get traded. Nowadays, there are fewer and fewer players that remain with the same franchise. Kind of reflects today’s workforce where people don’t tend to stay at the same place of employment for 20 or 30 years like it was so commonly done in my day. The players make so much money now and have agents who handle their business. They don’t have to have part time jobs in the summer. I’m not mad at Dombrowski even though he made some mistakes. I’m still mad at the team for not winning the division. That was the killer for me,,,for the State of Michigan, the City of Detroit, Ernie Harwell, the fans to lose it on the last day broke our hearts.

That’s supposed to say “part-time jobs” in the winter. Man oh man, am I thinkin summer. It’s -20 degree chill index, maybe that’s why.

I don’t know how this latest attempt to mold the Detroit team will work out. Nobody does. The first attempt has failed because of two people: Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland. DD failed because of his ill-conceived contract offers and trades for aging veterans, and JL failed as field manager of a team good enough to win more than one wild card in four seasons.
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Both failures have been well documented and require no further comment. Both of these men remain employed and well compensated, while the fans are left to wait and hope again. Some of us don’t have unlimited years left to constantly look to the future. Dombrowski and Leyland both need to take a long hard look in the mirror. I suspect they’d see each other’s images if they did so.
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Back at home and jumping straight to the bottom line.
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–Rich

1. The Tigers didn’t need to trade the relatively inexpensive contracts of Jackson or Granderson to make “adjustments”.
2. Trading Granderson will likely cost the team wins in 2010, breach the faith that fans have in management’s commitment to fielding a winning team, and cost the team as much money in gate receipts as the bit that they save on the contract. Serves them right.
3. Even if Jackson could be traded for Scherzer, even up, that’s fine. If they have to throw in a pitching prospect, fine. I get that Jackson was leaving after two years, and Scherzer has five years to go. But DD didn’t have to trade Granderson for a CF prospect whose upside is what Curtis has already done, and a couple of relief pitchers that could be had on the open market if DD wasn’t so frugal about spending on free agents.
4. DD has been extreme in handing out lavish extensions to players, leaving the team trapped under the weight of bad contracts. At the same time, he has been extreme in refusing to sing free agents to meet the team’s needs. NO team has signed fewer free agents in the past three plus years, and ALL of those that DD has signed have been one year contracts.

I’m not buying DD’s story. He didn’t have to trade Granderson, who would have made 5.5 million in 2010. He didn’t have to refuse to offer arbitration to Polanco, who would have either been back for a reasonable one year, $ 6 million deal, or we’d have two first round picks for him. He didn’t have to sign the cheapest, most inept hitting shortstop on the market. He doesn’t have to let our closer and set up man walk without a replacement, or let the lineup go with the same three holes in Everett, Laird, and Inge, plus two untested rookies, no lead off man, no No. 2 hitter, and a couple of vets on their last legs- all in the same lineup. It didn’t HAVE to be this way, DD.

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