The Detroit Tigers made two moves in the last two days with very different goals. First, they traded a very good pitcher for what looks like a very minimal return – a utility player and a nice prospect in exchange for one of the, what, 20 starters in baseball over the last three years?
Doug Fister is really good but was about to get more expensive and they have more than their share of fine starters so fine: you deal from a position of strength, Dombrowski. You do it with the internet’s blessing. Everybody has bills to pay, we get it.
But then the Tigers turned around and gave dollars and years to Joe Nathan, a closer. A capital-C Proven Closer who also happens to be 39-years old. All the Tigers goodwill quickly evaporates because CLOSERS NOT CLOSERS. Overpaying for saves is the Cardinal Sin, one from which even the wiliest GMs cannot recover.
But, as always, there is a middle ground between screaming about saves and improving a professional baseball team. The pendulum of overrated/properly rated swings violently. The Tigers added a great pitcher to the bullpen – a definite area of need. This is a good thing for their chances in the immediate future.