Detroit Tigers: Opening series a painful reminder of 2014 trade with Reds

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers have opened up the 2020 season against the Cincinnati Reds, but not without some painful memories.

The 2020 Major League Baseball season is off the ground and running with the Detroit Tigers taking on the Cincinnati Reds in the opening series of their respective seasons. There have to be some painful memories being brought about with this series against the Reds.

The first instinct would be to think about Nicholas Castellanos, who was traded to the Chicago Cubs during the 2019 season, ending up with Cincinnati this past offseason, but no. The Reds lineup is anchored by slugger Eugenio Suárez, who was basically given to the Reds for free.

Back in 2014, the Tigers would choose to beef up the pitching staff, giving up the then 22-year old Suárez, which sure would backfire. Given the Tigers are in a rebuild, it does not hurt as much; it just is hard to give up a player who hit 49 home runs last season.

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The official terms sent prospect Jonathon Crawford and Suárez to the Reds in exchange for starting pitcher Alfredo Simón who was sent back to the Tigers.

This did not pan out as the Tigers would have hoped in any way, given that Simón has been out of baseball for four years.

In fact, Simón would only spend the 2015 season with the Tigers before heading back to the Reds to play one final season before disappearing from Major League Baseball.

On the other hand, Suárez is hitting bombs as the Reds middle of the lineup power threat, sitting on the top league-wide leaderboards for home runs, battling for the top spot.

Surely, the Detroit Tigers felt the trade was good value in 2014, right?

To cut the organization some slack in this regard, Simón was coming off his lone all-star season, making 32 starts with a 15-10 record. He posted a 3.44 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and punched out 127 hitters over 196.1 innings pitched during his 2014 all-star worthy season.

Before this, Simón had been absent from the Reds rotation, being used as a reliever and finishing games off for the organization. The Tigers were banking that the Reds tapped into something, finding out that Simón was capable of being a starter, this would ultimately be fatal for his career.

Looking at Suárez at this time, he had just finished his first season of pro ball with the Tigers, playing in 85 games, totaling 277 plate appearances. Suárez would hit .242/.316/.336 with four home runs and 23 RBI  for the Tigers during the 2014 season.

Nowadays, Suárez is hitting .271/.358/.572 with 49 home runs and 103 RBI over 159 games for the Reds, which he did during the 2020 season. He has steadily increased his power numbers every season since leaving the Tigers in the Simón for Suárez deal.

Inevitably, someone in the Tigers organization has to be kicking themselves for letting this happen, though the Tigers are in a rebuild, it sucks giving up a player like this. Projectability can be a tough thing; this was not expected out of Suárez, and the Tigers felt Simón would stay strong as a starter.

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Bad trades take place all the time, but playing six of the first nine games against the Cincinnati Reds definitely will bring up the memories of the Suárez trade for some, especially when he hits a big flies off the Tigers pitching staff.