Most year’s MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline comes and goes without much fanfare. This year the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics made it a day to remember. Another Tigers and A’s postseason match would now be a dream.
Blockbuster trades, like the one that sent Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers and Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers, just don’t happen that often.
Another one happened on the fourth of July when Oakland’s general manager, Billy Beane, made this season’s first blockbuster trade by acquiring two of the trade market’s most coveted pitchers, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, from the Chicago Cubs. No one saw that coming.
If no one saw that coming, then what happened between approximately 9 am and 4 pm ET on the day of the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, is nothing short of astonishing.
The A’s surprised ever everyone, especially a just awakening West Coast, with the news that they had traded their power-hitting left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and a draft pick to the Boston Red Sox for their number one starting pitcher and Cy Young Award candidate Jon Lester and Northern California native and former Athletic outfielder Jonny Gomes.
That’s a huge trade all on its own. The team with the best record in baseball just made their already stellar starting rotation unimaginably good.
Later just as the 4 pm was rolling around on the East Coast, the Tigers announced that they too had bettered their starting rotation by acquiring another of the trade market’s most coveted pitchers, David Price, in a three team trade with the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays.
Now, these are both blockbuster trades that were completely unexpected even by baseball insiders. These two teams each had arguably the two best rotations in baseball and were not expected to be on the market for Lester or Price. Two shockingly huge trades on what ended up being one of the craziest trade deadlines in recent memory.
But why? The answer is because both teams have something to prove. There is quite a bit of history between the two teams in recent years. The Tigers have been in the playoffs often, twice to the World Series only to lose. Each time the Tigers have made it to the World Series this century that have had to get past the A’s first. In 2006 they had to defeat the A’s in the ALCS and in 2012 in the ALDS. They defeated the A’s for the second straight year in the ALDS in 2013.
The Tigers are out to prove that they can win the World Series and the A’s would like to take home their first American League Pennant since 1990. Both teams just made big trades pretty much for the sake of beating the other. Of course the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to watch out for so there is a slight chance that the two teams will not face each other in the postseason but if history is any indication, they inevitably will.
So if the A’s and the Tigers were facing off today in a seven game series for the A.L. Pennant, who would win? Let’s look at and grade the two teams’ starting rotations, lineups and bullpens to see if one team has the advantage over the other. In part one of this three part series (look for part two next Wed!) let’s break down the Tigers and the A’s starting rotations.
To read my analysis of the two rotations on FanSided please click on the link below:
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