Reporting live (just kidding) from these winter meetings for Ace of Sports, I'm Joe Stapleton.
As I said in the earlier, hastily-put-together post, the Tigers trade for Gerald Laird was met with a resounding "meh." Laird fills a need. Will he be any good? Who knows. We only really need him to be serviceable, considering our, ahem, POTENTIAL hitting prowess.
Seriously, it's going to be hard for Dave Dombrowski and Co. to surprise any of the fans this off-season after what they pulled last winter, landing Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Of those three, only Cabrera lived up to the hype, and that's pretty generous. He got off to a very slow start, and he only really crawled out of it when things stopped mattering and it became apparent that no matter how many runs the Tigers gave him, Nate Robertson was going to keep finding a way to lose games. As for the other two "big time" free agents, one was profoundly ineffectual and the other's career is probably over. Guess who is who.
As of now, those signings did NOT work out. However, Cabrera still has time to be great, and my bet is he will be next year.
The Tigers also traded for Rays starter Edwin Jackson after talks for Mariners closer J.J. Putz fell through. They gave up Matt Joyce, which is too bad (a power bat with potential), but they got a pitcher who was tied for the team lead in wins last year and showed some great potential. The guy has a chance to be very good, he's only 25, and we desperately need starting pitching. So there.
Apparently we are also talking to Jon Smoltz, which is a little disturbing but if it works out could be awesome. And the Rangers are "interested" in Shef. Take him. Please.
Hopefully through this storm of trades we will come out still holding Clete Thomas. Dude's awesome. More updates later.
Ok, instead of making a new post I'm just going to add on to this one: the Tigers claimed this kid Kyle Bloom in Rule 5. Lots of upside: he's a lefty, he's been a starter for most of his time in the minors, but we would probably use him as a reliever. As a reliever in the minors, his stats have been much better than his starts.
We also got shortstop Adam Everett from San Fran, who mercifully took The Bum Renteria off our hands. Good riddance. The man is just collecting a paycheck at this point.
While it's nice bringing on a young reliever with potential, the Tigers were not able to do what they came to the meetings wanting to do: nab a consistent, reliable closer. They were in talks with Putz for a while, but he decided he would rather go to New York to be a setup man for K-Rod. By the way: the Mets can suck it. Keep spending fellas, you're just going to end up choking your brains out in August and September. Not that I'm bitter. I really wanted Putz.
However, I am currently in the process of talking myself into Edwin Jackson as a reliable starter. Instead of relying on a turnaround from either Robertson or Willis, we can just hope. The guy clearly has some good stuff.
Overall I would rate the Vegas trip pretty productive. Depending on what kind of tail Dave and his boys ended up with, I think they would say the same thing, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse.