Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The worst trade made by Dave Dombrowski and the Detroit Tigers nobody talks about

There is still much angst among Tiger fans because Placido Polanco was not offered salary arbitration following the 2009 season, and second base has been a problem for the club since. It's reached alarming proportions this season because Ryan Raburn has slumped so badly he was optioned to Toledo last night, and Ramon Santiago hasn't hit well, in addition to displaying a propensity for turning routine double play balls into costly fielder's choice disasters.
But the biggest mistake, in retrospect, the Tigers made regarding their infield was choosing Santiago over Omar Infante following the 2006 American League pennant-winning season.
Infante has gone to make an All-Star team as a utility infielder when he was with the Braves, and has since moved onto the Marlins where, playing second base, he is currently 10th in the National League with a .319 batting average and tied with Prince Fielder in OPS (on base and slugging percentage combined) at .880. His OPS has been .750 or better every season but one since leaving the Tigers. He is easily a stronger, faster, more productive player than any of the Tigers' current second base candidates.
And the Tigers traded Infante to the Chicago Cubs for veteran outfielder Jacques Jones following the 2007 season. Just in case you need a reminder, Jones hit .165 in 90 plate appearances for the Tigers and by mid-May of the 2008 season was released.
Santiago has done some good things for the Tigers, but his 162-game average season is.247 with six home runs and 39 RBI. His career OPS is .653. Infante's average 162-game season is .277 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI. His career OPS is .719. Oh, and at 30, Infante is two full years younger than Santiago. The two have roughly identical fielding percentages at second base.
It wasn't like Infante was awful for the 2006 Tigers, either. He hit .277 and had a .740 OPS. He had some issues with manager Alan Trammell when he slumped in 2005, but those seemed behind him in 2006 under Jim Leyland. Also, Trammell was the bench coach in Chicago when Santiago played there with no incidents.
Infante was arbitration eligible for the first time following the 2006 season, so his salary was kicked up to $1.3 million from $385,000. But still, Jones was paid $5.3 million that season, most of it by the Tigers, and after he was released (he played briefly for the Marlins later that season, and never again following the 2008 season).
My commentary on the Nick Fairley situation and the Lions is during The Oakland Press News at Noon cast. Check it out:


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, that trade did hurt because you would have everyday 2B. But what sunk the Tigers was the bad signing of GS, NR and DW. You could also throw in BI and TJ and KR the second time around. I do look forward to Worth playing to see what he can do.

7:04 PM 
Anonymous Lyndon said...

I agree, had the DT never signed GS, JG, BH, and perhaps, MT all those years ago, maybe MC would have been acquired sooner, and JP would have not been needed and GS(2) could have been cut. Of course, OI, PP, TP, DE and others would have been considered for 2B, but then again, we may have had money for ER, SY, PG, AB, MH, or UR. See what I'm saying?

2:57 PM 
Anonymous Matt said...

Neither Santiago nor Infante ever played a game for the Cubs. Don't know what Tram being the bench coach there anything to do with anything.

3:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whaaa, B & L?? I have a headache. Anyone have any BA? (Bayer Aspirin) or NPXN? (naproxen)

4:38 PM 
Blogger Unknown said...

Bad trade yes, also he never played for the cubs they quickly moved him to the braves for nothing. That wasn't even the worst trde the tigers made that year, by far Jair Jurrjens for renteria was worse

5:24 PM 
Blogger Unknown said...

This was not even the worst trade that year. Jair Jurrjens for renteria was worse and we all know it at the time. There was no reason to believe that infante would ever become good. on a side note a little fact checking shows infante never played a game for the cubs they sent him to the braves for nothing.

5:25 PM 

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