Bay of Cigs: Trader Jose(s)

With the non-waiver trade deadline set for 4:00 pm today, the Tigers got in on the action earlier this week by adding two major-league-ready players who should address the team’s short-term needs as they prepare for a postseason run.

On Monday, Detroit acquired bullpen help in the form of Houston closer Jose Veras. When the team announced the move, I posted the following instant analysis:

The Tigers have acquired closer Jose Veras from Houston. So far as cost is concerned, Veras was much cheaper than Papelbon would have been. Here’s how his numbers stack up in the statistical analysis presented in the main post, above:

ERA: Smyly and Benoit are killing it with 1.77 and 1.50, respectively. Veras is at 2.93.
FIP: Again, Smyly and Benoit look good: 1.86 and 2.11 respectively. Veras is at 3.39.
HR/9: Smyly: 0.15; Benoit: 0.43; Veras: 0.84.
K/9: Smyly: 9.59; Benoit: 11.14; Veras: 9.21.
BB/9: Smyly: 2.07; Benoit: 2.57; Veras: 2.93.

Obviously Veras isn’t challenging Benoit and Smyly to be king of the Tigers’ bullpen jungle, but he’s better than the league average in all of these categories, and he’s trending in the right direction over his career in all of them. 2013 also looks to be the best season in his career, which is saying something considering he’s been playing for the functional equivalent of a high-AAA team.

Veras also looks good when compared to the rest of Detroit’s current bullpen (removing Rondon and Reed due to low usage this season). When compared against that group, he ranks first in ERA, FIP, HR/9, and BB/9, and second in K/9 (to the ridiculous, but not-so-frequently-used Albuquerque).

With GM Dave Dombrowski at the helm, the real question after a move like this is whether he’s done. The Veras acquisition isn’t splashy, and with money to spend, this is a team that can afford to make a splash. Regardless of what comes next, though, this is a move that should make Tiger fans happy.

Comment updated to add:

Dave Cameron likes the move from the Tigers’ perspective, and he includes this bit that’s relevant to my post, above:

“That’s Veras and Papelbon, side by side, over the last calendar year. Papelbon’s long term track record is much better, but over the last 365 days, they’ve basically been equals.”

There are caveats, of course, but this looks like a smart move on paper.

Veras appeared in the Tigers’ very next game, a 5-1 win over the visiting Washington Nationals, wherein he pitched a perfect eighth inning to help secure the win.

In exchange for Veras, Detroit shipped nineteen-year-old, single-A outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later to Houston. My uniformed opinion is that this is a negligible cost.

Last night, the Tigers were involved in a three-team trade that saw them sending Brayan Villarreal to Boston and Avisail Garcia to the White Sox and receiving Jose Iglesias in return. (Also of note: the headline component of this trade was the Red Sox acquisition of Jake Peavy.) While this trade is still pretty fresh, my immediate feelings are much more mixed than they were on the Veras trade. My initial reaction, adapted from some correspondence this morning, is as follows:

From a Tigers perspective, I have mixed feelings about this trade, but I think it’s mostly good for Detroit. I’ve done a little research on Iglesias, and he seems like a really good, young, defensive shortstop. He’s maybe not so good at hitting, but they have other guys who are supposed to be doing that, so I guess that’s ok. His arrival in Detroit probably means Jhonny Peralta’s days as a Tiger are numbered. They gave up two guys in this deal. Villarreal is a middle relief pitcher who was very important to the Tigers last year, but he’s hardly played this year, due to injuries and other issues with decreased effectiveness. A few days ago, he slipped in the shower and injured the thumb on his throwing hand. Although this is probably an ok time to let him go, my memories of how important he was last fall are still pretty fresh, so that has me a little wary, even if it’s definitely possible that he won’t be that good again. Garcia is an outfielder with a lot of offensive potential. In some ways, he’s sort of like the inverse of Iglesias, the guy they’re getting, except that Iglesias’s defensive value exists now, while Garcia was still more about potential than reality. Still, Garcia was one of the top prospects in the Tiger system, so I’m feeling a little wary about seeing him depart too, especially to go to the White Sox.

In the end, I think they needed an answer for whatever’s going to happen with Jhonny. The answer they found will be better at defense and worse on offense, but Jhonny’s hitting this year may not continue in future years anyway, so it’s tough to know for certain. I wish they didn’t have to give up two guys to get one guy, especially since a division rival (Chicago) and likely playoff opponent (Boston) are involved, but they had to address the situation with Peralta and I think they did that. I also don’t like that that potential playoff opponent got the best starting pitcher (Peavy) likely to move in trades this year, but having him leave a division rival is decent consolation.

For a collection of more informed and reasoned thoughts on the Iglesias acquisition, read this aggregation.

On the general topic of personnel acquisitions, this site obviously continues to be in need of a graphic design editor. Apply within.


100 days of summer run distribution – 7/25
Are the Tigers the unluckiest team in baseball? – 6/28
Forget what you know
 – 6/25
History and Revision – 6/12
Tigers beat Braves 7-4 as part of series sweep of visiting Atlanta
 – 5/7
April in the D – 4/26
Jet Set (Sigh?)
 – 4/23
Run distribution, science, and the likelihood of a Detroit comeback – 4/15
WSJ throws a wet newspaper on the Tigers’ 2013 chances
 – 4/3
A Tiger is a Tiger is a Tiger – 3/29

The Departed – 3/14


7 thoughts on “Bay of Cigs: Trader Jose(s)

  1. Considering that you have nominated me for a graphic design position in the past, I put forth my application for the job. Note that I know (what) HTML, CSS, and GIMP (are) so I’m pretty much a pro. Also, I make graphics for a living. So there’s that. Also, I share DNA with you so I already know what you’re thinking.

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