Grand Cards: Breaking The Crystal Ball

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Breaking The Crystal Ball

Now things start coming together. For months I have wondered what Lynn Henning has had in mind when constantly preaching that the Tigers must trade Granderson. Today, we are invited into the heart of darkness.

Here's a tentative look at what could be the Tigers' starting lineup on Opening Day 2011:

1. Shortstop (to be determined, acquired via trade)
2. Scott Sizemore, second base
3. Casper Wells, center field
4. Miguel Cabrera, first base
5. Carlos Guillen, designated hitter
6. Alex Avila, catcher
7. Ryan Strieby, left field
8. Brennan Boesch, right field
9. Third base (to be determined, acquired via trade)

This assumes several things: Inge will be gone. Ryan Raburn will either have been traded or will be a starter ahead of one of the three young outfielders. Magglio Ordonez's option for 2011 will not have kicked in. And trades will have provided the missing pieces at shortstop and third base.

Those voids will have been filled, if the 2009 calculations are correct, by a couple of upcoming trades for a couple of players named Granderson and Jackson.

God help us all.

Explain to me for just a second, how that is any different from this? Seriously. Is this is a team that wins in 2011? I really don't think so. This is a team that, if you're lucky, is built for more like 2013 when those players start to come into their own and not 2011 when they are all rookies and second year players. So if this is what you're relying on for a team roster in 2011, as opposed to, you know, one that includes Granderson and an extra $40M in payroll to spend on some well-placed free agents, or high quality players acquired via trade, then I've got some prime swampland real estate that I'm looking to sell.

Let's play a game.

Of the Top 10 Prospects in the Tigers system going into 2007, One (Jair Jurrjens) is in the Major Leagues.

Of the Tigers' Top 10 Prospects going into 2008, One (Rick Porcello) is in the Major Leagues.

Of the Tigers' Top 10 Prospects going into 2009, Two (Porcello and Ryan Perry) are in the Major Leagues.

You're telling me that somehow, the Tigers are going to pull four players from their Minor League System, two prospects from another minor league system and Alex Avila--who was mostly a minor leaguer in 2009--and have SEVEN starting major league players?!?! That is insanity. Keep in mind, that the Tigers have had exactly ZERO position players come through their system and into the regular starting lineup of ANY MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM since Curtis Granderson broke through in 2006. The Tigers system has no phenoms, and no reason to believe that they can assemble a major league team through "The Henning Plan"

And therein lies the problem. When you have players like Granderson and Miguel Cabrera--position players that have proven themselves in the Major Leagues, it just doesn't make sense to deal them and rely on your position player prospects. Sure, Granderson is 29, but that isn't old. That means he has 3-4 years before he starts to decline. I'm not saying that Granderson can't be replaced, but rather that there is no replacement for him. If you're lucky enough to develop one or two major league position players from your current crop of minor leaguers, the team has plenty of holes that they could fill.

I'll say it once more: I don't dispute that there may be scenario in which trading Curtis Granderson may make sense. I just don't know what it is. Lynn Henning has preached and preached that it is the cure to what ails the Tigers. Today, he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

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