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The Tigers acquire Alex Gonzalez from the Orioles for Steve Lombardozzi

Mar 24, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT

This is interesting. I mean, beyond that it shows that, yes, Alex Gonzalez is still playing baseball:

 

What’s more, Connolly reports that the Tigers traded utilityman Steve Lombardozzi for him. Which is kinda nuts considering Lombardozzi was a (presumably) important part of the Tigers trade of Doug Fister trade and Gonzalez was a non-roster invitee for the Orioles. Detroit obviously didn’t think too much of Lombardozzi. There’s a decent chance he becomes the Orioles’ starting second baseman.

For the Tigers Gonzalez will be yet another body to throw into the void that is their Jose Iglesias-free shortstop position. And, if that doesn’t work out, he can be the utility guy. Heck, the latter may be more likely given that Gonzalez hasn’t played a full season at shortstop since 2011. In the past two seasons in Milwaukee he played more first and third base. He didn’t hit a lick last season. He’s 37.

Strange trade, but the Tigers are doing all kinds of strange things lately.

  1. darthicarus - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Whatever Dombrowski’s “master plan” is these days it sure doesn’t make sense to me the fan. I guess stockpiling crappy SS replacements to hope one can make do is a plan, not a good one, but a plan nonetheless.

    • zzalapski - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      Maybe Dombrowski has mastered genetic engineering and is planning to use DNA samples from all these utility players to combine their best qualities. If he starts acquiring good-hit, no-field middle infielders, then we can be certain he’s attempting to create the Serpentor of shortstops.

      Hey, it makes as much sense as any other theory.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        If only we could melt them down and get a good addition or two to the BP out of them.

  2. chacochicken - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Dave must really hate Doug Fister. Maybe the Nats should have held out for the Tigers to pay most of his salary too.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    The 25-year-old is a Maryland native.

    Always a real pleasure to welcome one of our own back home. I have to imagine he is thrilled to be coming back to town.

    I wouldn’t rule out Ryan Flaherty for the starting second base gig just yet however. He really turned things around last season after he was demoted to the minors. Seemed to be a wakeup call for him. Unfortunately just as he started to really get everything to click, Brian Roberts came back and pushed him back to the bench. Eitehr way, Steve will provide some depth, and all for a player who’s been with the team for just under two months. Sounds like a good move to me.

    • cktai - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      With Machado out, Flaherty will probably be needed as starting third baseman.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        True, however it is not known how long Machado will be out. Some reports have him starting opening day. Some reports have him sitting a few weeks. I’m really focusing more on the other 4 months of the season.

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Defending Dombrowski here a little. A little not a lot. There is logic here. Gonzalez may not have played SS for a couple of years, but that is because he played on a team that had an All-Star in Segura there.

      In his last full season, 2011, he still posted pretty good defensive numbers, if one believes in that sort of thing. He probably isn’t any worse than Peralta, not to bring up a sore subject. Lombardozzi was still a throw in, Ray was probably a more important target, and perhaps Krol. And since the acquisition of Kinsler, Lombardozzi was more expendable.

      And the Tigers need somebody to play SS, it is just that at 37 years old it is hard to see how Gonzalez is the sole answer

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        Jhonny Peralta is a million times better than Alex Gonzalez. Total, pure analysis fail, spuds.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        I was referring to defense alone, and stand by that. But if one is considering the total package, you are indeed correct, Peralta would be the better choice by far.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        What you wrote made it very unclear that you were talking about defense alone. But I’d also be extremely reluctant to take 2011 fielding numbers from a 37-year old and try to make any type of current-day point about his SS defense.

        You’re right about Ray being the ostensible point of the infamous Dog Fister deal, Dombrowski called a press conference to explain how he didn’t get fleeced in the Fister deal, and he claimed therein that Ray was the point of the trade. Of course, if you have to call a press conference to explain that you didn’t get fleeced, that means you got fleeced.

        Also, DD picked up Kinsler before Lombardozzi, so Steve walked in the door as a total expendable.

      • uwsptke - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        Segura came over at the deadline in 2012. Gonzalez was supposed to be the full-time SS in Milwaukee in 2012, but he blew out his knee in a gruesome injury in May. They ended up re-signing him for 2013 as part of the comedy-of-errors attempt at placing shortstops at first base. He was actually pretty good defensively at 1B, but couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag, and had obviously not recovered from the knee injury which had completely taken away whatever speed/range he had left. Maybe he’s recovered now, because based on last season his days at shortstop looked over.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Correct you are about when the Brewers got Segura. I don’t know how much Gonzalez has left, but before his injury he was more than serviceable, defensively.

        Hopefully, for Tigers’ fans the brass has done due diligence in the research department, as to the aging shortstops ability.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        You forget, Mo-G, that Peralta was off the table at that point. The Cards had signed him, and the Tigers didn’t fight it because they thought they’d found a strong up-and-coming replacement in Iggy. Had they known his health issues were more substantial before, I’m sure they would’ve done things differently.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        Should have asked Michigan’s own, Mitt Romney. I hear he can “see into the future.”

      • historiophiliac - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        Yes, it’s his view of the past that’s marred by diarrhea.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        But the trees are the right height.

  4. NatsLady - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Lombo was a fan favorite in DC because of a few “clutch” plays and hits that stick in your mind. I’m sure his family will be glad to have him back in MD. Can’t play SS, 3B or LF, though (noodle arm, think Juan Pierre). So a utility guy who can really only play 2B isn’t exactly “utility.” He’ll get the occasional pinch hit and steal a base or two (but not more, because he isn’t really fast and he can’t really hit).

    • inserthandle - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      Ha, don’t tell OriLOLe fans. They think they just traded for Rogers Hornsby’s ghost. He’s scrappy! And fast! And versatile! They’re in love.

      • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Little known fact about Rogers Hornsby, he was a terrible defender. In two seasons for St. Louis, playing SS in 1917-1918 he committed 52 and 46 errors. He was better at second, but posted a .965 fielding average over his career. Good thing he could hit.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Where in this thread do you see any high expectations for Lombardozzi? And really? OriLOLe? How long did it take you to come up with that gem?

        As an O’s fan I know what he is. He’s another incomplete player that the organization will take a stab at and see if anything can come of him. If so? Great. If not? See ya. He provides depth at a needed position at 2B behind Flaherty as opposed to depth at SS, a position Hardy has held down strong for a long time now. I would not be shocked to see Lombardozzi as a bench body to start the season with Manny on the shelf, and have Flaherty at the hot corner and possibly Schoop at 2B. Upon Manny’s return, Flaherty back to second and likely Schoop back down. But in no way do O’s fans as a whole have unrealistic expectations. I think Flaherty is better than Lombardozzi is. That speaks volumes.

      • flavadave10 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Who implied that Lombardozzi is anything more than a utility player who will start a few games early on? It’s a decent trade for the Orioles because they basically just traded a “utility infielder” who could only really play shortstop or first base (which, no offense, pretty much any baseball player can do) in Alex Gonzalez for a far more versatile utility infielder in Lombardozzi. Any trade in which you upgrade your team while giving up nothing has to be considered a win.

    • natstowngreg - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      Think you’ve summarized Lombardozzi the Younger’s talents nicely. I wish him well as an Oriole, but O’s fans shouldn’t expect much.

      • toodrunktotastethischicken - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        Considering they got him for an NRI, can’t really say it’s a bad deal either.

      • flavadave10 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        And we’re not. At least the logical ones aren’t.

    • pbastille - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      I admit I did not watch Lombardozzi play much, but he was 6 for 6 in steals in spring training, and he was a 30 SB guy in the minors in 2011. Either he is a little faster than you described or a very heady base runner.

  5. zemensd - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Nothing like getting older and worse in a trade. Moving a supposed key piece of the Fister deal for a 37 year old whos played 60 games in the last two years is just a bang up move by Dombrowski. I have zero faith in the Tigers current lineup construction or Dombrowskis moves to fix it. This basically brings the Fister trade to Fister for nothing.

    Is he going to start trading players for hugs next?

    • spudchukar - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      If so he should make a play for Ortiz.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Wait, hugging is an option?

      /stretches

  6. pwshrugged - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    I just don’t know anymore. I want to trust you, DD. You deserve that trust. But… I’m starting to wonder.

    Let’s see what it looks like when they play ball, I guess… but I can’t help but feel my expectations falling.

  7. thebirdsareback - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    I think the Orioles DD won this round lol

  8. fomeols - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    If I am a Detroit fan, I am screaming and have been screaming since the Fister trade.
    Getting Kinsler was a win, but overall the Tigers are weaker.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Getting Kinsler for Prince Fielder is not a win. It’s a blatant loss, and a cost-cutting loss at that. But at least you can understand why it happened.

      Trading an inexpensive Dog Fister for Rob Ray and Alex Gonzalez is a much bigger loss. Dombrowski has lost his mind. Sad, but it happens.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        I cry every time the graphic comes up with the ERA’s for our SP’s. Dang that’s a big drop off from 3 to 4 and 5. :(

        On the plus side, I was very happy to hear Beautiful Brad say that he was manipulating starts to Porky and Smyly did not pitch back-to-back all the time. Reasonably, he noted that you want to assure good pitching in every series. Look at the brains on that guy.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        Dog is in a better place now. They sent him to live in the nation’s capital.

        Looks like the top 3 Tiggers will go on normal rest come hell or high water, and the bottom 2 will be skipped as much as possible. Seems reasonable.

  9. metrocritical - Mar 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    The Detroit Tigers are now in full panic mode, reeling towards a season of turmoil. That loud noise was the sound of the championship window slamming shut.

  10. bolweevils2 - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    I’d have thought all it would take to get Alex Gonzalez would be to search out his home phone number and give him a call. Was he actually a threat to make the O’s roster, or could the Tigers have just waited a few days for him to be released?

    • Eutaw's Finest - Mar 24, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Surprisingly? Alex Gonzalez was likely to win the utility spot on the opening day roster. With Manny out, Flaherty will start at 3B, likely Schoop at 2B and Gonzalez on the bench (now Lombardozzi). O’s other options are Alexi Casilla who has been lacking at the plate, and Jemile Weeks (via Jim Johnson trade) who has played well this preseason (not as good as Schoop) but the knock on him is that he has only played 2B and OF. Although from what I understand Lombardozzi plays primarily 2B and is not very efficient at any other infield position either.

      • flavadave10 - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Lombardozzi played 20 games at third base and 60+ games in left field with the Nationals. It’s a marginal upgrade, but it does provide infield depth. I imagine Lombardozzi will be starting at 2B on Opening Day. It seems silly to call up Schoop to start on Opening Day only to send him down once Machado is healthy. I’m a huge fan of Schoop, but he still needs to work on his defense and also gain a little more confidence by staying healthy. Not to mention his struggles hitting anything that isn’t a fastball, though he has improved noticeably in that area.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        I won’t disagree it’s best to send Schoop straight down to start the year, I was simply saying that prior to this trade they did not have a legit 2B outside of Schoop and Flaherty, who will be holding down 3B for Manny until his return. Weeks is just… eh. Given the addition of Lombardozzi though I will say it’s pretty clear that Schoop will go down, Lombardozzi will start at 2B, Flaherty at 3B and I’d assume we’ll see Weeks on the bench for the time being. I know he’s not the ideal utility infielder but I can see Cruz rotating with Davis at 1B if need be, and Flaherty has shown the range to play 2B,3B and SS in his time with the O’s. In short- they’ve got it covered.

  11. xjokerz - Mar 24, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    all in favor of trading Fielder but the rest of these moves make me believe Dombrowski has began smoking meth.

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