For the first ever Throw Back Thursday I want to talk about the moves that Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers made in 2011. In baseball one of the greatest feats is becoming a Triple Crown winner. For a batter that is leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs (lastly done in 2012 Miguel Cabrera) and for pitchers they need to lead in wins, strikeouts, and ERA (Justin Verlander/Clayton Kershaw 2011). Now for general managers I think they should have a triple crown based on the moves they make for their team. I would say they would need to have the best off-season free agent signing, make the best trade before the July 31st deadline, and they also need to make the best waiver claim in August. Now with just making the moves is one thing, but these players also need to produce for their new teams.
The 2011 off-season had many top talented free agents. The list was lead by Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre, Jason, Werth, Adam Dunn, and Victor Martinez to name a few. The Detroit Tigers were looking to add another bat to the lineup to hit behind Miguel Cabrera. Well Dave Dombrowski decided that guy should be Victor Martinez. He signed V-Mart to a four year $50 million contract. Well V-Mart lived up to that contract his first year. He hit .330/.380/.470 with only striking out 51 times in 595 plate appearances. He was primarily the Tigers DH, but could also spell Miggy at first and Avila at catcher. He would also bring a leadership role to the clubhouse for the Tigers. By far I would say he was the best off-season signing.
The day before the deadline DD would pull off a trade for a pitcher most people probably didn't know. His name would become a household name, that guy Doug Fister. The Tigers traded a couple prospects (Chance Ruffin, Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells, and Francisco Martinez) for Doug Fister and David Pauley of the Seattle Mariners. Now Fister was headed to a team that could score some runs for him. His ERA with the Mariners was 3.33, but he had 3 wins and 12 losses. Once he got to Detroit he was even better. He would go on to have a 1.79 ERA with a 8-1 record. He had a sub 1 WHIP and really pushed the Tigers into the playoffs and strength their starting rotation.
Now the waiver claim I unfortunately do not have a card to post. I could have found a base card I guess. The Tigers lineup was pretty good, but with an injury to outfielder Brennan Boesch and a struggling Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers claimed Delmon Young from the Minnesota Twins. They would in return send minor leaguer Cole Nelson to the Twins. Young played 84 games for the Twins and only 40 games for the Tigers, but out of his 12 home runs 8 of them came as a Tiger and he drove in just as many runs for the Tigers (32 RBIs) as he did for the Twins. Once the Tigers made the playoffs he went off in the ALDS against the New Yankees with a .316/.381/.789 slash line and 3 homers.
The Tigers would advance to the ALCS and eventually lose to the Texas Rangers. With V-Mart and Fister they would both go on to have successful careers in the next few seasons with Detroit and leading to the Tigers resigning V-Mart this off-season. Even Delmon Young who was painful to watch during the 2012 season was a huge contributor in the 2012 playoffs that lead the Tigers to the World Series run for Tigers. All in all I would say just looking at the 2011 season Dave Dombrowski looked like a hero. Great free agent signing and great trades. He didn't give up much and none of the players he did trade has really amount to anything. So I will congratulate Dave Dombrowski on winning my Triple Crown for general managers.