Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Off With a Bang

Over the past couple weeks, there have been few headlines relating to the Twins. Those that have revolved around our hometown team have been incredibly dull: Twins activate Joe Nathan's option, Carlos Silva and Torii Hunter file for free agency, etc. Of course, I can't really complain about the lack of compelling activity; we are just two days removed from the end of the World Series and there are several long months ahead for necessary moves to be made.

That didn't stop the division rival Tigers from getting their offseason started in a hurry though. They pulled the trigger on a trade with the Braves yesterday, sending prospects Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez to the Braves in exchange for shortstop Edgar Renteria. The Tigers wasted no time in filling their new hole at shortstop, which was created when the decision was made to move the hobbled Carlos Guillen to first base.

Renteria, 32, is a five-time All-Star who hit .332/.390/.470 with 12 homers and 57 RBI over 124 games in Atlanta last year. He has never hit for a ton of power, but he's still got some speed and is a very solid defensive player. He should prove a nice fit in the Tigers' veteran lineup. In order to get Renteria, the Tigers had to give up a very nice pitching prospect in Jurrjens, who made his major-league debut as a 21-year-old this year after posting a 3.21 ERA over five minor-league seasons. The second prospect included in the deal, Hernandez, is a 20-year-old who spent the entire 2007 season in Single-A. He's far from an established prospect, but he has great speed (74 SB in174 professional games) and could end up being a solid player down the line.

Like with the Gary Sheffield trade last year, Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski has shown that he has no problem letting go of some promising young players with bright futures in order to help the team in the present. This deal might not ultimately end up being a great one for Detroit, but there is little question that it will make them a better team in 2008, which is bad news for the Twins. I very much doubt this is the last we'll hear from Dombrowski; likewise, I suspect that Kenny Williams will be active this winter as he looks to turn the White Sox back into a competitor. The Indians don't need to do a whole lot of tinkering, but I don't expect Mark Shapiro to sit on his hands.

It's going to be a busy offseason in the AL Central. Let's just hope that Bill Smith and the Twins get in on the action so they don't end up left in the dust next year.