Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Thoughts on Jacob Turner, Matt Garza and a possible trade between the Tigers and Cubs

The Tigers won 95 games last season, an ALDS series against the Yankees and pushed the Rangers in the ALCS. They have the best pitcher in baseball, Justin Verlander, and arguably the best hitter, Miguel Cabrera. Their lineup is solid throughout. So is their bullpen.
They need another veteran pitcher to fill out the starting rotation, but the first four components are solid with Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.
They also have a highly-regarded pitching prospect in Jacob Turner, who did pitch at Double-A and Triple-A last season and make his major league debut with a couple spot starts.
Matt Garza lurks. For all the up and down of his performance, he is in his prime and would unquestionably help the Tigers immediately. Do the Tigers trade Turner to acquire Garza from the Cubs? There are reports. My understanding valid ones.
The Tigers are one of those rare teams in strong enough position where dealing prospects for veterans makes complete sense. They are going to have a contending club deep into the future with Verlander and Cabrera. Every year their goal should be to win the World Series.
Turner has been, frankly, overhyped, but he did OK one of his major league starts, not-so-well in the other. He posted decent numbers in Double-A and Triple-A ball last season, but he didn't display for certain he is a future No. 1 or No. 2 starter, either. Or that he will be a full-time major league pitcher any time soon. He was 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA and decent numbers otherwise between Toledo and Erie, albeit it while being young for those levels.
A couple things: If the Tigers deal Turner, they won't know if he has improved since last season, and to what degree. It is a reasonable expectation given his talent (low-to-mid 90s fastball with late movement, very good feel with his breaking ball, still needs to work on his changeup). His makeup is good. If he comes along as a pitcher, he won't flinch at the pressure of the major leagues. Why trade somebody if he can help you at some point of the coming season?
As for Garza, love his arm. What I can't get over about him is how he pitched for the Twins, one of the more solid organizations in baseball, and how they quickly unloaded him. Then he was with Tampa Bay, another very good organization at evaluating talent - and they unloaded him relatively quickly.
Now the Cubs have a front office change. Theo Epstein is the new GM. His track record speaks for itself. What's he reportedly looking to do? Unload Garza.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
The Tigers might be wise to keep Turner. Not only because he has an upside as a pitcher that is just starting to develop, but also because he is bargaining chip for future trades.
Would it really be worth it to use that chip on Matt Garza?
Tempting, but I'd probably pass.


Blogger Barry said...

Pat you make an excellent point with Garza changing teams so often make you wonder. Turner is an excellent trade chip being #7 best prospect in baseball and under team control for many years. I think we should keep him to see what holes we have during the season. Even though getting Garza would prevent the Yanks from getting him. I would rather, if the Tigers make it, see the Tigers face Garcia or Burnett in the playoff instead of Graza. Yanks has had a strange off season, have the funds finally reach the end the line? You think they would be all over Graza and the Cubs are asking the Yanks for two prospects. I think one is down in A ball. The other one needs a plate three feet wide. Tigers could match this or exceed it. If the Tigs have the money why not Oswalt or Kuroda? They all should be in the same price range.

3:21 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book - bang on and spot on. I was wondering the same about Garza. Quality commodities become mainstays until free agency.

The other quiet point is Austin Jackson. Now that he has his sophmore slump season out of the way (and a horrid post season ... who was that guy in centerfield?) - Look for Jackson to have a break out year this year and show why he is the best option at lead off. He has some proving to do.

PS - I'm loving seeing Georgia alumni Stafford go into the playoffs. And sad to see my Bulldogs get beat by MSU - but was glad it was MSU that beat us.

1:12 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Oswalt would be ideal for the Tigers. Might have to wait it out. He is looking for a big pay day and teams not looking to give him one at this stage. A lot more likely than trading for Garza.

12:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I agree with you about Jackson. I do see him having a much better season. He'll get a little stronger every year. I like the way he hangs in there when he slumps.

12:32 PM 
Anonymous woody said...

curious that the Tigers have been linked in trade rumors to various #2 and #3 starters on the trade block. figured that starting pitching would be the least of their concerns this offseason.

they are in an enviable position with the rotation. young and talented, with 3 of the 4 getting paid much less than their performance merits. they do not need to make a major move to fill out the rotation. has it been forgotten that they had a great season with Brad Penny as the #5? creating an uber-rotation seems to be a recipe for regular season, but not postseason success.

wonder how heavily the Jurrjens trade weighs on the mind of the GM as he contemplates whether to trade Turner.

6:04 PM 
Blogger walt p 1968 said...

I think the tigers should go after Michael young of the Texas Rangers.He can 2nd base 3rd base hit lead off and bat .330. The deal may cost you some pitching , but i think it's a deal that works for the Tigers.

2:26 PM 
Blogger walt p 1968 said...

Garza would be nice , but the price is too high. I really think the Tigers should trade for Michael Young of the Rangers. He can 2nd base or 3rd base. Bat leadoff and hit you .330 , I would do Turner for young in a minute.

2:30 PM 
Blogger walt p 1968 said...

The price for Garza is too high. I think the Tigers should trade for Michael Young of the Rangers. He would fit well. he can play 2nd or 3rd, bat lead off and hit you .330
I may even do Turner for Young.

2:37 PM 
Blogger walt p 1968 said...

This is a question we were talking about at the office. The Tigers need a legit lead off man. Who is the best lead off hitter in the league ?
Ichiro ? Would you trade Verlander for Ichiro ? The Tigers rotation still would be the best in Central with Fister, Scherzer, Porcello, Turner, and a Brad penny type.
You're first five hitters would be Ichiro, Peralta, Delmon Young, Cabrera, Victor martinez.

2:50 PM 
Anonymous woody said...

it'd be interesting to hear the Tigers' development guys opinion of Turner's projected performance ceiling. is it higher than Garza, Jurrjens, Porcello, Bonderman, Andrew Miller? that more than anything will determine whether they trade him. even the high budget teams have taken a recent turn toward holding onto their best young pitching prospects.

9:13 PM 

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