Edson: Tigers Trades Net Pennies On The Dollar

First, the disclaimers.

I am a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan.

General manager Al Avila is one of the most decent people you will meet in sports.

But the Tigers did an embarrassing job of unloading two of their best players at the trade deadline last week.

From all accounts, the Tigers could have packaged All-Star relief pitcher Shane Greene and solid hitting outfielder Nick Castellanos for a nice return in prospects.

Instead, they elected to trade them separately and got little back in return.

Greene went to the Atlanta Braves. In exchange, the Tigers got back Double-A lefthander Joey Wentz and Triple-A outfielder Travis Demeritte.

Demeritte was promoted to Detroit right away. He hit a triple in his first game and dropped a flyball – reminding us of Castellanos – in his second game.

Castellanos went to the Chicago Cubs for two pitchers, Double-A righthander Alex Lange and Single-A righthander Paul Richan.

The Tigers began this trade deadline looking for position players and ended up with three more pitchers and a well-traveled minor leaguer.

The truth is, they got very little back for what they spent. And maybe that was the goal all along.

After all, the team is paying veterans Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmerman a combined $55 million this season.

The Tigers elected not to trade lefthanded starter Matt Boyd, despite getting some nice offers from the New York Yankees.

Some baseball officials – who were aware of some of the offers the Tigers were getting – called their stance on Boyd everything from “borderline comical” to “impossible to deal with.”

It also brought back memories of what the Tigers failed to do when righthander Michael Fulmer was having an All-Star season a few years ago.

One package offer from the Cubs included Javier Baez. Another from the Astros would have brought Alex Bregman to the Tigers.

Baez is now 26 and finished second in the National League MVP voting last year. Bregman is now 25 and finished fifth in the A.L. MVP voting. Both are cornerstones now of their respective franchises.

You might have thought Avila learned his lesson from the Fulmer fiasco and been willing to swap Matthew Boyd while his stock was at an all-time high.

It didn’t happen.

So no matter what you hear from the Tigers brass or the team’s TV and radio announcers, this was not a proud moment to be a fan.

It will just prolong the amount of work to be done during this ongoing rebuild.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.