Three for Thursday: Forgettable Randy Smith Trades Edition

3 fingers.jpgWould it surprise you to learn that in his six-plus years as Tigers’ GM, Randy Smith made 60 trades? To offer some perspective, from 1983-95, the year Smith took over the front office, the Tigers made 62 deals — roughly the same number of trades in twice the time.

On this date in 1997, Smith made a pair of humdingers during the Expansion Draft:

  1. On this date in 1997, the Tigers acquired righthander Matt Drews and infielders Joe Randa and Gabe Alvarez from the Diamondbacks for infielder Travis Fryman. The D-backs turned around and peddled Fryman to the Indians. The Tigers also acquired righthander Tim Worrell and outfielder Trey Beamon from the Padres for lefthanders Dan Miceli and Donne Wall and infielder Ryan Balfe.

  2. On Nov. 18, 1963, the Tigers sent outfielder Rocky Colavito, pitcher Bob Anderson, and a reported $50,000 to the Kansas City Athletics for second baseman Jerry Lumpe and pitchers Dave Wickersham and Ed Rakow.

  3. Happy 42nd birthday to Gary Sheffield. Sheff, we hardly knew ye.

Happy Birthday, Travis Fryman

The five-time All Star turns 40 today.

Fryman, the Tigers’ first-round selection (#30) in the 1987 draft, spent parts of the first eight seasons of his 13-year career in Detroit and with some sorry teams. In his seven full seasons, he hit .272 and averaged 20 homers and 93 RBI — and wore #24.

On Nov. 18, 1997, GM Randy Smith sent Fryman to the Diamondbacks for Gabe Alvarez, Joe Randa and minor leaguer Matt Drews. Two weeks later, the D-backs dealt Fryman, Tom Martin and cash to the Indians for Matt Williams. Go figure.

Fryman played five seasons in Cleveland, highlighted by his 2000 campaign: .321 – 22 HR – 106 RBI. Two years later — his last in the bigs — at the age of 33, he cratered and hit .217, with 11 homers and 55 RBI.

(Aside: I remember when he visited Comerica Park the first time as a member of the Indians and he essentially said the park was okay but had too many Tigers around the exterior. He might be right, but at the time, man, I was indignant!)

Today, Travis Fryman is the manager of the Indians’ Class A Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers in the New York-Penn League. He debuted with the Scrappers last season. (Do yourself a favor and check out what the Scrappers have in store for their fans on July 18. Sweet mercy.)

In case you were wondering, Baseball-Reference.com estimates that Fryman made more than $47 million in his career. Chances are, those earnings are helping make it a happy birthday.

At least we hope so.

Historically, Christmas Comes 3 Weeks Early for the Tigers

PORTLAND, Ore. — As we all warm ourselves by that roaring hot stove, savoring yesterday’s blockbuster and thinking about the holidays, let’s not forget the boatload of trades the Detroit Tigers have made on December 4ths of the past. According to the Tigers 2007 media guide, the team has completed seven trades on Dec. 4, beginning in 1952.Despite some recognizable names, nothing Earth-shattering:Dec. 4, 1952 — The Tigers acquired Bob Nieman, and infielder Owen Friend and outfielder/infielder J.W. Porter from the St. Louis Browns for right-handed pitchers Virgil Trucks and Hal White, and outfielder Johnny Groth.Dec. 4, 1963 — The Tigers acquired outfielder Don Demeter and right-handed pitcher Jack Hamilton from the Phillies for right-hander Jim Bunning and catcher Gus Triandos.Dec. 4, 1969 — The Tigers acquired pitcher Joe Niekro from the Padres right-hander Pat Dobson and infielder on Dave Campbell.Dec. 4, 1974 — The Tigers acquired right-hander Tom Walker and catcher Terry Humphrey from the Expos for left-hander Woodie Fryman.Dec. 4, 1978 — The Tigers acquired outfielder Jerry Morales and right-hander Aurelio Lopez from the Cardinals for lefties Bob Sykes and Jack Murphy.Dec. 4, 1998 — The Tigers right-hander Willie Blair from the Mets for third baseman Joe Randa.Bonus Deal! Here’s a trade the Tigers completed 20 years ago today, Dec. 5, 1987: The Tigers acquired outfielder Gary Pettis from the Angels for Dan Petry.