After improving 'pen with deal for Veras, Tigers GM adds key piece in Iglesias
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland knows to expect the unexpected from his general manager when the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, but even he wasn't expecting quite this package this time around.
"I kidded my boss last night: 'I might have a whole team by tomorrow,'" Leyland said on Wednesday morning. "He's unbelievable. He's really good at what he does, and he's not afraid."
If Tuesday's trade with the Red Sox for shortstop Jose Iglesias showed anything, it was a level of fearlessness. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski fully acknowledged the possibility that Avisail Garcia could haunt him as a division foe for years to come in Chicago. If he was going to get a shortstop who could fit -- not only now, in the event of a Jhonny Peralta suspension, but for the next several years -- he was going to have to give up one of his prime prospects.
"I've never been hesitant with that," Dombrowski said on Tuesday night. "That doesn't faze me. I fully expect Garcia to be a really good player, and I don't really want to watch him play 18 times a year. I'm sure he's going to beat us at times during that time period, and there will be times when people say that Dombrowski was not very smart when he does that. But I think it's more important about the player that you get in return. As long as we get a player that helps us at the same time and can be a real good player, then that's what you can get."
Dombrowski wasn't going to sell a top prospect for a rental at shortstop. If he was going to trade the future, he'd have to get a piece for the future in return. When the opportunity presented itself to get something more, Dombrowski didn't hesitate.
"I think that's a lot of it," Leyland said of Dombrowski. "You've got to be [fearless]. It's not that easy. I mean, it's mind boggling to me, because I came to work yesterday and I had no idea that within 24 hours, the Tigers would've made a trade for a shortstop."
Leyland expected the Tigers would fill their gaping hole in right-handed relief, which they did on Monday by acquiring former Astros closer Jose Veras. Speculation bubbled on Wednesday that Dombrowski might swing another deal for a lefty reliever, such as San Francisco's Javier Lopez or Toronto's Darren Oliver. Nothing more transpired.
Part of the art of the Deadline, Dombrowski said a few days ago, was reading the pulse of the market as it unfolded and having a feel for whether a club might relent on high demands when time runs short. Those demands on middle relievers didn't come down to the Tigers' liking.
Lopez, Oliver and others stayed put. The Indians, Rangers and other teams primarily focused on improving their bullpens stood pat. The Tigers, satisfied with what they had already done with Veras' arrival, moved on.
Now that the Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players have already cleared waivers. In other words, a player must be offered to all other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
The next waiting game for the Tigers, however, is on Peralta and whatever discipline he might face. Involved in Major League Baseball's investigation into Biogenesis, a former Miami-area clinic, Peralta said on Wednesday that he hadn't heard what's coming down from MLB. Dombrowski indicated the same on Tuesday night.
Iglesias is scheduled to join the Tigers on Friday. If Peralta is suspended, Iglesias would likely fill the veteran's spot on Detroit's 25- and 40-man rosters, as well as in its starting lineup. If Peralta can continue playing, Iglesias will fill a utility role.
The key part is that the Tigers can now wait knowing that they're protected.
Those moves make an impact up and down the roster, not just where the players coming in have a direct effect.
"You don't understand -- the players down here in the clubhouse, when you see something like that and moves like that [Dombrowski is] doing, whatever it takes," outfielder Torii Hunter said on Wednesday. "It makes us feel great. These guys want to win at the top. If they want to win at the top, it comes down to the bottom, and we see that and we're excited that he's getting the job done."