Detroit Tigers: Remembering a few of Al Avila’s worst trades

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers acquire Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Javier Betancourt and a PTBNL (Manny Pina)

Coming off of an All-Star season in the twilight of K-Rod‘s career, this seemed like an excellent trade for the Tigers. However, it pretty much blew up entirely.

His first season as the primary closer was not bad, but he blew five saves, his fastball velocity was down, and both his walk rate and WHIP were up. His 2017 wiped out all of the goodwill he accrued in 2016. He posted career-worsts in HR/9, WAR, H/9, WHIP, and many more. He blew six saves in 13 save opportunities. He was bad.

The return for the trade wasn’t significant, with Betancourt never reaching the majors. However, Manny Pina is another story.

His bat grades out average, but his defensive abilities consistently put him in the league’s upper half in Baseball Prospectus catching metrics. Though he’s dealt with injuries, he has been a reliable option for the Brewers since the trade.

Detroit Tigers acquire Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron, and Jake Rogers from the Houston Astros in exchange for Justin Verlander.

This trade hurts in so many ways as a fan. For starters, yes, this trade was completely necessary to truly rebuild. Yes, Verlander’s contract is difficult to move for nearly anything. Yes, Verlander was 34 years old and had been dealing with injury issues.

But this is Justin Verlander, and he was second in 2016 Cy Young voting and looked like himself. Though the package seemed reasonable at the time, both sides have acquired very different value out of the trade.

Verlander has posted two top-three Cy Young finishes, has posted career bests in SO/Walk ratio, K/9, Strikeouts, ERA, etc. Prior to going under the knife for Tommy John surgery, he looked on pace to have a Tom Brady-esque second career, even stating that he wants to play until he’s 45.

The other end of the trade seems close to lost. Perez’s career has seemingly gone by the wayside, going from a top prospect in 2018 to not throwing a professional pitch since 2019. Jake Rogers was on pace for a massive breakout season, but Tommy John took him too.

It’s a toss-up whether or not he builds back up to his potential. That just leaves Daz Cameron, who has faltered in his transition between the minors and bigs.