The Detroit Tigers are in an all-out rebuilding mode. In fact, they have been in that phase since the MLB trade deadline approached this past July. Tigers general manager Al Avila made it perfectly clear at that time that his goal was to shed payroll by unloading some of the bigger contracts while trying to re-stock the team’s farm system in the process.
And that is exactly what Avila has done.
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Not only did he trade away J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson, Justin Upton, and his son, Alex Avila, but he also dealt one of the greatest Tigers of all-time, Justin Verlander.
In return for those players, the Tigers received a plethora of prospects who may or may not pan out. They were trades Avila almost had to make at the time considering the direction the team is going.
But on Wednesday, Avila dropped the ball by trading fan-favorite Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels for their No. 20 and No. 24 ranked prospects.
Trading Kinsler was not the mistake Avila made. In fact, the move was one which was expected, especially with the comments that were constantly coming out of the MLB Winter Meetings over that past couple of days.
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The problem was when Avila made the trade and the circumstances under which the trade was made.
Because the Tigers GM showed his hand (again) and because of Kinsler’s no-trade list, Avila had absolutely zero leverage in this situation. Yet, he pulled the trigger.
“It was one team,” Avila said. “I had no leverage.”
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 14, 2017
Wait, what!?!? Avila was actually willing to admit this?
So, let’s get something straight here. Avila was willing to trade one of the Tigers leaders, both on and off the field, just for the sake of making the trade? Just for the sake of getting a younger player like Dixon Machado more playing time and saving some cash?
That, my friends, is a HUGE mistake.
What Avila should have done was continue to hold onto Kinsler until the 2018 MLB trade deadline and hope a contender in need of a second baseman emerged. Now, there is no guarantee that suiter would ever step to the plate but there certainly would have been a chance. But instead, Avila decided to sell off one of the leaders of the team for a bag of balls.
While waiting for the deadline to approach, Kinsler could have split time with Machado while acting as a player/coach to the youngsters coming up. He has the leadership qualities that are perfect for a young team and he would have been a HUGE asset this season, even if he did not put up great numbers.
The worst case scenario would have been that the trade deadline passed without getting anything at all Kinsler. Avila should have been willing to take a chance at that happening rather than acquiring the No. 20 and No. 24 prospect from arguably the worst farm system in Major League Baseball.
Moves like this are exactly why I do not have faith in Al Avila as the architect of a complete rebuild for the team I love.