Let the Hot Stove begin. ESPN reports the essentials.
The Detroit Tigers made the first splash in baseball’s offseason as they addressed a pressing priority.
Detroit filled its No. 1 void Monday, acquiring shortstop Edgar Renteria and cash from the Atlanta Braves for two prospects.
Shortly after reaching the World Series last season, the Tigers pulled off the first major move when they traded for Gary Sheffield.
The two prospects ended up being 21-year old righthander Jair Jurrjens and 19-year old centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez.
What a coup for Atlanta. Even without John Schuerholz in the GM chair, the Braves are still well aware of players’ expiration dates. Ever a hallmark of Schuerholz’ trades, the Braves always seemed to know just when to move a player. Renteria fit a need on a contender who was awash with young arms, just what the Braves need. Hernandez meanwhile has speed to burn, good doubles power and the potential to blossom into a very good centerfielder.
Wren noted that the Braves had other moves to make. One of course will be installing Yunel Escobar as the full-time starting shortstop. In one move, the Braves just got a lot younger. The National League East should be on notice. The Braves may have missed the post season in each of the last two years, they are on their way back to contention.
In Motown, however, the story is contending with an aging core of known veteran players – familiar ones at that, to GM Dave Dombrowski and Manager Jim Leyland. Their last two big offseason acquisitions (Sheffield and Renteria) were playing for Leyland and Dombrowski in 1997 when they, as Marlins, were World Series Champions.
Age must be a concern at some point. Of Tigers position players, only centerfielder Curtis Ganderson is under 30. Top prospect Cameron Maybin showed he was not quite ready for the majors in his debut this past fall. Meanwhile Pudge Rodriguez is 36. Magglio Ordonez is 34. Sheffield is 39 and the Tigers offense is old, in a dangerous position for decline.
Their pitching is young however, with fireballers Justin Verlander, Andrew Miller and Jeremy Bonderman heading a deep rotation and Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney at the back of the bullpen. Only Rodney is over thirty. They can contend with these pitchers in the near term and continue to patch the lineup with veteran replacements for another couple of years.
Short term, this deal benefits the Tigers more, who may be able to make it back to the World Series in 2008, but long term this is a real steal for the Braves.
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