Normally I don’t make posts about MLB news, but I wanted to talk about the Justin Verlander trade, who was traded yesterday to the Astros for Jake Rogers, Franklin Perez and Daz Cameron.I was really surprised to hear about this trade, mostly because I thought the waiver trade deadline was over. I can’t be the only one who is confused about when the trade deadline is. Anyway, I thought this was a great trade for the Tigers, who got three legit prospects, and a good trade for the Astros too. The Astros are making a big push for the World Series and they needed help at starting pitching and while I am not sold that Verlander can push them over the edge, he is an upgrade and it makes them much more formidable. For the Tigers, I think this is a great trade. Over the last 5 years, they have tried so hard to win the World Series, but they always give out huge contracts to free agents who made them better, but not World Series threats. Last season, signed Jordan Zimmermann to a 5 year, 110 million dollar contract and Justin Upton to a 6 year, 133 million dollar contract. Zimmermann has been horrendous, and Upton had a rough 2016, but he’s done well this year and the Tigers were able to ship him to the Angels in another rebuilding move that was great. But now it seems like they are stopping with the crazy free agent deals and going down the same route as their division rivals, the White Sox.
Franklin Perez is the highest touted prospect shipped off to Detroit. He was signed in 2015 out of Venezuela, and I am rooting for him just because his home life is probably a mess with the whole situation in Venezuela right now. I am not going to lie, I do not know much about him. He has a mid 90s fastball to go along with a high 70s 12-6 curve and a low 80s slider. The fastball projects to be above average and his breaking pitches project average. Perez does have a over the top arm slot that gets him a lot of ground ball. This year in A+ ball he had a 8.78 K/9 and 2.65 BB/9 and a 7.03 K/9 and 3.09 BB/9 in AA ball with a 37.5% and 33.0% ground ball rate, respectively. I think he has mid rotation upside and Fangraphs is listing him as the Tigers second best prospect.
Jake Rogers was a great pick by the Astros last year. He was easily the best defensive catcher in the 2016 draft, with a plus arm and he flashed above average power while being very athletic. There was an Austin Hedges comp, which has its merit but I hate comps so I don’t want to discuss that much. This year he split time in A/A+ ball, and had solid batting numbers. He slashed .265/.357/.457 in A+ ball with 12 homers and 12.0% BB/19.6% K and a 127 wRC+. I was disappointed that he did not make it to AA this year since he is a bit old for A ball(he’s 22 years old). To sum everything up, I think Rogers is an MLB backup lock as a floor with a very good chance that he becomes a solid regular in the majors.
Daz Cameron was drafted out of high school in the Comp A round in 2015. He got a 4 million dollar signing bonus after the fiasco with Brady Aiken. Cameron was one of the older high school players in that draft, so it was disappointing to see him struggle for the first year and a third of his professional career. After a miserable start to the 2017 season, Cameron turned it around and was able to finish with a .271/.349/.466 with 14 homers and a 128 wRC+ in A ball this year. Daz has above average speed with a plus glove, and even though he does not project to be an above average hitter, his fielding and speed should be enough to make him a regular.
To sum this up, I think this was a good trade for both teams, even though I think the Astros might have overpaid a bit. It would have been nice to see them hold on to pitch framing extraordinaire Jake Rogers since he such a Houston player, but I think their shot at getting to the World Series just got better. And I’m happy that the Tigers are finally rebuilding, they should have started five years ago. But at least they finally realized it, right.
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