10 biggest trades in Tigers history

March 28th, 2019

DETROIT -- The Tigers have a long history of trades. They traded a reigning American League batting champion for a reigning home run champ in 1960. They swapped managers with Cleveland in the same season. They swung three trades in two days around the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2015.

Detroit's resurgence from 119 losses in 2003 to the World Series in 2006 was as much about shrewd trades by former general manager Dave Dombrowski as it was about free agents and player development. Current general manager Al Avila's current rebuilding effort will be determined as much by trades as by Draft picks.

Here's a look at the 10 biggest trades in Tigers history:

1. Miggy goes to Detroit

Tigers got from Marlins: 3B , LHP Dontrelle Willis
Tigers gave up: LHP , OF , RHP Burke Badenhop, C Mike Rabelo, RHP Frankie De La Cruz, RHP Dallas Trahern
Date: Dec. 4, 2007

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch had a winning franchise but lacked a superstar. Dombrowski pulled off the shocker of the 2007 Winter Meetings to get one, acquiring Cabrera for a package of prospects. Cabrera became the face of the franchise, winning two AL MVP Awards, four batting titles and baseball's first Triple Crown in a quarter-century.

2. Guillen to short

Tigers got from Mariners: SS Carlos Guillen
Tigers gave up: SS Ramon Santiago, SS Juan Gonzalez
Date: Jan. 8, 2004

Though the Ivan Rodriguez signing was the headline of the Tigers' resurgence to a World Series berth, the Guillen trade was one of the subtly good moves. Detroit pounced when a deal that would've sent Guillen to Cleveland fell through, and he became a three-time All-Star in Detroit. Santiago eventually came back to the Tigers and enjoyed a nice career as a utility infielder.

3. Tigers get Willie, Bergie

Tigers got from Phillies: LHP Willie Hernandez, IF Dave Bergman
Tigers gave up: OF Glenn Wilson, IF John Wockenfuss
Date: March 24, 1984

The Tigers entered 1984 with the key ingredients for a World Series run, except for the back end of the bullpen. A Spring Training deal for Hernandez filled it. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young and MVP Awards that year, racking 32 saves over 140 1/3 relief innings. Bergman filled a role at first base and became an underrated part of the lineup.

4. The Jet lands in Detroit

Tigers got from White Sox: CF Chet Lemon
Tigers gave up: LF Steve Kemp
Date: Nov. 27, 1981

The Tigers and White Sox swapped potential free agents to fill needs, and Detroit ended up with one of the better center fielders in the league for the better part of the 1980s. He was an All-Star in 1984.

5. Rebuild on the fly

Tigers got from Diamondbacks: RHP Max Scherzer, LHP
Tigers got from Yankees: CF , LHP Phil Coke
Tigers gave up: CF , RHP
Date: Dec. 8, 2009

The Tigers weren't looking to tear down their roster so much as retool after falling just short of a division title in 2009. Detroit traded a popular player in Granderson but picked up a future AL Cy Young Award winner in Scherzer to pair alongside , and the Tigers also acquired a standout defensive center fielder and leadoff hitter in Jackson and a useful lefty reliever in Coke.

6. Tigers, Tribe swap superstars

Tigers got: RF Rocky Colavito
Tigers gave up: RF Harvey Kuenn
Date: April 17, 1960

Colavito won the AL home run title in 1959; Kuenn won the AL batting crown the same year. The two were traded for each other two days before Detroit and Cleveland opened the season against one another. Colavito earned two All-Star selections in Detroit and was a key part of the Tigers' '61 club that challenged the mighty Yankees in the AL.

7. The deadline deal that paid off big

Tigers got from Mariners: RHP Doug Fister, RHP
Tigers gave up: 3B , LHP Charlie Furbush, OF , RHP Chance Ruffin
Date: July 30, 2011

Though was the big-ticket starter on the trade market leading into the July deadline, Detroit surprised by going for the relatively unknown Fister, who had a 3-12 record with the M's before the deal. He went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for the Tigers down the stretch, helping Detroit win its first division title in 24 years.

8. Tigers Cash in

Tigers got: 1B Norm Cash
Tigers gave up: 3B Steve Demeter
Date: April 12, 1960

Five days before Detroit acquired Colavito from Cleveland, the two teams made a deal for Cash, who had been dealt from the White Sox earlier in the offseason. Cash won a batting title for the Tigers in 1961 and helped win a World Series in '68 as part of his 15-year tenure in Detroit.

9. Earl becomes royalty in Motown

Tigers got: RHP Earl Wilson, OF Joe Christopher
Tigers gave up: OF/1B Don Demeter, RHP Julio Navarro
Date: June 14, 1966

Wilson went 13-6 with a 2.59 ERA for the Tigers after his midseason trade, led the AL with 22 wins in 1967 and then became a good part of their championship rotation in '68.

10. Juan Gone
Tigers got from Rangers: OF Juan Gonzalez, RHP Danny Patterson, C Gregg Zaun
Tigers gave up: IF/OF Frank Catalanotto, RHP Francisco Cordero, C Bill Haselman, OF Gabe Kapler, LHP Justin Thompson
Date: Nov. 2, 1999

Eight years before the Cabrera trade, the Tigers wanted a superstar to help open Comerica Park. So they traded a handful of young players to Texas for Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP who was entering his contract year. Gonzalez batted .289 with 22 home runs in 2000, but the long drives that fell short of Comerica Park's then-distant left-field fence were a bigger concern for Gonzalez, who turned down a long-term contract and left at season's end -- a decision that helped the Tigers in the long run.