Tigers Remain Active In Hot Stove Season
With the winter weather making an early arrival in Mid-Michigan, it's never too early to plan for, and think ahead, to the springtime. That's especially true to the Detroit Tigers and their GM Dave Dombrowski.Reports surfaced yesterday about the Tigers handling their "top priority" this off-season. After Dombrowski said to reporters Tuesday that re-signing Victor Martinez was at the top of his to-do list, reports surfaced Wednesday that Martinez will remain with Detroit after agreeing to a 4-year, $68 million extension.
Then, the Tigers pulled off a trade Wednesday evening to help address their center field concerns. After Devon Travis was named their top minor league prospect early Wednesday, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for outfielder Anthony Gose. Travis, a second baseman by trade, was training to make a switch to outfield. But, that would not have helped the Tigers' Major League squad this upcoming season. Gose, an inconsistent hitter, is considered a well-above average defender...an important trait for anybody who patrols the vast lands at Comerica Park. Gose has MLB experience and will likely do more to assist in the team's win now attitude. In my eyes, the good news out of this trade is it seems less likely that Detroit will shop current second baseman Ian Kinsler, and the up-and-coming Hernan Perez.
However, reports today suggest that the Tigers are shopping a trade for catcher Alex Avila. Many fans have expressed displeasure with the lefty's inconsistent hitting. Avila supporters, like myself, will point to his clutch hitting abilities (albeit, at lower than average rates) and his defensive prowess. Avila can handle a pitching staff better than most. He calls a clean game from behind the plate. And, base runners are reluctant to attempt a steal with Avila's accurate gun slinging abilities. But, Avila is injury prone, having suffered numerous concussions as a result of getting hit with bats and foul balls. Teams would be interested in Avila because of his defensive prowess, and he's a coveted left-handed batter. (One reason why the Tigers might not want to trade him) If Avila, who is due for free agency after 2015, is moved, Detroit would have Bryan Holaday and the highly touted James McCann left in the lower battery slot.
As we begin the annual deep freeze in Michigan, Dombrowski has turned up the heat on the stove once again. GM meetings are taking place right now in Arizona...an event that Dombrowski has treated like an episode of Hell's Kitchen in years past. (Kinsler-Fielder trade last year; Curtis Granderson/Ian Kennedy for Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson in 2009; prospects for Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis in 2007, to name a few) As Dealin' Dave continues to shore up his squad to make a run at a fifth straight AL Central title, it will be entertaining to follow, to say the least.