Five Best Detroit Tigers Offseason Acquisitions of the Last 20 Years

Tigers offseason

The Detroit Tigers have a long history of trades. In the past, the Tigers have traded for a reigning AL batting champion for a reigning home run champion in 1960. Then, in 2015, they managed to make three trades in two-days around the non-waiver trade deadline. But that’s not all. Detroit has operated with its eye on the farm system and player development. The Tigers were rarely spenders years ago, but they’ve made some significant signings over the past two decades.

Detroit’s resurgence from a 113-loss season turned into an immediate turnaround thanks to signing a Hall of Fame catcher. Then came the surging rise of not one but two aces on the mound who managed to become two of the game’s best pitchers. Those two acquisitions mentioned above are some of best Tigers offseason moves since the turn of the new millennium. Here’s who else made the cut. 

Tigers Offseason Blockbuster Deal

Tigers receive 3B Miguel Cabrerra, LHP Dontrelle Willis.

Marlins receive LHP Andrew Miller, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP Burke Badenhop, C Mike Rabelo, RHP Frankie De La Cruz, RHP Dallas Trahern.

Date: December 4, 2007

Dave Dombrowski pulled off a shocking trade at the 2007 Winter Meetings. The Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for a package of prospects. “Miggy” would quickly emerge as the face of the franchise. He would win two AL MVP awards, four batting titles, six Silver Slugger titles, and the first Triple Crown recipient in 45 seasons.

His late-season tear in 2013 turned into an unlikely run at history. After the All-Star break, Cabrera hit 26 home runs. He struck out an impressive 98 times in 697 plate appearances. By the time Cabrera wraps up his illustrious career, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

A Mad Max Deal

Tigers receive from Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Max Scherzer, LHP Daniel Schlereth.

Tigers receive from New York Yankees OF Austin Jackson, RHP Phil Coke.

Yankees receive from Tigers OF Curtis Granderson.

Diamondbacks receive from Tigers RHP Edwin Jackson.

Date: December 7, 2009

The Tigers offseason in 2009 was retooling the router. After falling short of the AL Central in 2009, Dombrowski made another shocking trade. This time, he traded fan favorite Curtis Granderson and pitcher Edwin Jackson in a three-team deal. The Tigers acquired Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Acquiring Scherzer was an essential piece of the trade. The righty would pair well with another up and coming pitcher, Justin Verlander. Scherzer’s 2013 season was the year he hit his peak as a pitcher. He went 21-3 with a 0.970 WHIP and a 2.90 ERA. His 240 strikeouts were a career-high, and he was the only 20-game winner that season. Scherzer would win his first of three Cy Young awards, which began a streak of seven consecutive top-five Cy Young finishes.

Pudge Is A Tiger

Tigers sign C Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez to a four-year, $40 million contract.

Date: February 2, 2004

Ivan Rodriguez, one of the best catchers ever, signed with the Tigers in early 2004. Detroit was coming off a 119-loss season, the worst team in the history of the AL. “Pudge”, a 2003 World Series champion, signed a four-year, $40 million, with a fifth season club option.

In five seasons, Rodríguez was a four-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, and never spent a day on the injured list. In 611 games with the Tigers, Rodriguez hit .298/.328/.449 with 709 hits, 62 home runs, and 300 RBI. By 2008, Rodriguez was in the final year of his contract. They were desperate for bullpen help and would trade the catcher to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth. “Pudge” Rodríguez would be the driving force in believing in the Tigers. Without him, the Tigers would have never drawn serious consideration from other big-name free agents.

Magglio Heads To Detroit Rock City

Tigers sign RF Magglio Ordóñez to a five-year, $85 million contract.

Date: February 7, 2005

Before starting spring training, the Tigers offseason sent shockwaves around the league when they signed Magglio Ordonez. One season after signing Rodríguez, the Tigers snatched a slugger away from their division rivals the Chicago White Sox. At first, the signing looked it wasn’t worth it after “Maggs” missed half of the 2005 season with injures. However, the six-time All-Star would soon rebound to his regular form.

The Tigers punched their ticket to the 2006 World Series, all thanks to Ordóñez’s dramatic three-run walk-off home run. The following season, Ordóñez became the first Tiger to win the AL batting title since Norm Cash in 1961. Ordonez’s .363 batting average was the highest by a Detroit player since 1937. He finished the 2007 season with 28 home runs, 54 doubles, and 139 RBI.

Trading the Prince To The Lonestar State

Tigers receive 2B Ian Kinsler.

Texas Rangers receive 1B Prince Fiedler.

Date: November 20, 2013

Sent to Detroit in a one-for-one deal for Prince Fielder, Ian Kinsler continued to produce. The Tigers saved money in the trade since Fielder had seven-years and $214 million left on his contract. Kinsler had four years and $75 million remaining. The Tigers sent the Texas Rangers $30 million to cover part of Fielder’s contract. As for Kinsler, the second baseman was one of the best defensive players during his four seasons with the Tigers.

Kinsler would be named to his fourth All-Star team in his first season. On defense, he led the AL with 290 putouts, third with 467 assists and a .988 fielding percentage. Despite his batting average dropping to a career-low in 2017, Kinsler was a key cog to the Tigers lineup. He earned a Gold Glove and MVP consideration in his second season.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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