On Monday, Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Heyman wrote a column in which he highlights the top-20 decisions made by MLB teams in the past year. In Heyman’s view, the Tigers made two of the top decisions:
3. The Tigers’ acquisition of Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Phil Coke in the three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
This was the most unpopular of moves at the time in Detroit. It’s way early to say for sure, but as of today it looks boffo, with Granderson starting slowly (.240 average) in New York and Jackson (4-6, 5.05 ERA) doing the same in Arizona. Austin Jackson is a Rookie of the Year candidate, providing Gold Glove-type defense, perhaps the most valuable piece in the deal that saved the Tigers beaucoup bucks. Scherzer has shown only flashes of greatness, and Coke is a middle reliever. But the Tigers look like they received a star, while setting themselves up to improve their offense (by getting Johnny Damon) and bullpen (Jose Valverde) with the money that was saved.
And, here’s the other:
11. The Tigers’ decision to let Magglio Ordonez’s contract vest.
They could easily have not played Ordonez to save themselves a lot of money, but they did the proper thing by fielding their best lineup, which included Ordonez, as they tried, ultimately without success, to secure a playoff spot.
His wife was going through a cancer battle last year, so Ordonez understandably underperformed. And the Tigers did the right thing by standing by him.
Rob Neyer takes a closer look at this one today.
I wonder if the Tigers releasing Gary Sheffield last spring training and DFA’ing Dontrelle Willis last month were anywhere on Heyman’s list.
What do you think about Heyman’s assessment — and Neyer’s?