Detroit Tigers Brass Bringing Back Dave Dombrowski IS a Good Move


Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland are back for another run next year, and quite frankly, I don’t see why everyone isn’t content with this decision.  Leyland will take a backseat in this article (and the argument against him is a little more valid perhaps), but I’m happy to have Dombrowski here.

I understand the opening argument against him, which is definitely the most important. The Tigers have only played in the playoffs once since Dombrowski took over.  Consider the previous GM.  Randy Smith held his position from 1996-2002.  During that stretch the Tigers didn’t hit the .500 mark once, and lost 100 games twice.  Enter Dave Dombrowski.  Since, the club has finished over .500 four times, and lost 100 games only once, back in his first season.

Critics say that the contracts he gives out are too long or for players that are too old.  They point at the extra years Magglio received, the $10 million spent on Johnny Damon, or the fact that Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge are still Tigers.  I would like to address all of those issues at once.  The 2010 Tigers were actually doing very well (with all those players) until Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen went down.  They were in first place right around the all-star break, and then they were both hurt (I believe the same weekend).  The team wasn’t the same after that.  Magglio gets a bad wrap for his bad start in 2009.  If you remember though, his second half that year and 2010 first half, he was a .300 hitter.  It does look like we’ve hit the wall with him now though.

I would like to go back to that same time period in 2010.  After the injuries, Dombrowski pulled the trade that brought in Jhonny Peralta.  Peralta was an All-Star this year, replacement or not.  The youngster the Tigers traded in the deal still needs some time to develop to fully know what we lost, BUT I know I do like having Peralta in my line up now.

The same can be said for Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer, and Austin Jackson.  All three were brought in via the trade.  Dombrowski hasn’t been afraid to bolster his line-up by making trades.  Consider the names that have been brought in on trades alone, in addition to the three mentioned:  Jeremy Bonderman, Carlos Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Placido Polanco, Sean Casey, Gary Sheffield, Edgar Renteria, Dontrelle Willis, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, Jarrod Washburn, and Aubrey Huff.  Now, I’m not going to address the successes/failures of each player personally, although, there are a few I do need to.  Before I do though, the point should be made that his willingness to deal shows more than anything else his eagerness to win.  He doesn’t usually stand pat.  He wants to try to make his team as good as possible and won’t hesitate to do what he sees fit.

Having said that, every deal can’t work out.  The two most upsetting were probably Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff.  These two guys were supposed to solidify the 2009 team.  Instead, they were complete disappointments here.  As a result, the Tigers had to play in and lost game 163 that year.  Yet with a hit in the right place by Huff or a Washburn quality start, they may not need game 163, and the Tigers are 2009 AL Central Champs.  Can you really blame Dombrowski for these two players not performing as they did in the first half of the season?

Sheffield and Renteria leave bad tastes in people’s mouth, but I feel that the entire 2008 season did.  That team looked unbeatable.  Oddly enough, it couldn’t win.  I think it’s still a mystery as to what went wrong.  Consider though, all the aging veterans on that team, and the Tigers have not had a massive drop off since.  There was long-term, last-place-riddled rebuilding; it was basic reloading.  The other tough pill to swallow about those two deals was the lost of Jair Jurrjens in the Renteria deal.  How nice would it be to still have him in the rotation?  But that’s the risk.  He went for a proven shortstop (who turned out to be a National League only shortstop) for, at the time, an unproven pitcher.  They can’t all be gold.

Throughout all the deals Dombrowski has pulled, the only quality talent he has really lost was Matt Joyce, Edwin Jackson, Jurrjens, and Curtis Granderson.  Having said that, I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather have Max over E. Jackson.  Curtis Granderson is a great guy and a great player.  He’s smacking the ball all over New York right now with over 30 homers.  But he is still only hitting .273, which is less than .03 points higher than Austin, plus A.J. had that terrible start.  If that is truly behind him, the Tigers might break even in that deal.

I get that it’s easy to always blame the general manager, but I don’t see it in this case.  Part of the lack of trips to the playoffs is simply being in the American League, where you know you have to expect two teams to come out of the East.  It’s also not like the Twins have won with no names.  Yes, they have had some moveable parts, but they always had a Mauer-Morneau-Cuddyer middle of the order to get them through.  How’s that working out for them this year?

I didn’t even mention the guys he has signed.  Victor Martinez, Jose Valverde, Ivan Rodriguez, and Magglio Ordonez just to name a few.  Sure, there have been some head-scratchers, but hindsight is always 20/20.  I like a guy who is willing to make moves and sign free agents to try to put the best possible team on the field.  That’s Dave Dombrowski in a nutshell.