Tigers Hope Verlander's the Next Doyle Alexander
With the tragically historic week Houston's endured, a baseball trade seems like a mere blip on a devastating radar screen.
But the city sees inspiration and mental relief in their Astros that the mayor actually requested that they return from exile in Tampa Bay, where they'd moved their home series against the Texas Rangers.
Now, the 'Stros are bringing an extra bit of excitement with them.
It'll take a few seasons to know for certain, but this deal has a chance to complete a baseball version of the Circle of Life:
- In 1987, the Tigers needed to bolster their rotation for a run at the World Series.
- So they traded for a red hot Doyle Alexander, who wound up going 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA for them;
- Still, they lost to the Minnesota Twins in the AL Championship Series, where Alexander lost his only two games for them;
- One of the prospects they traded to Atlanta was John Smoltz,
- Who made it to the Hall of Fame for his spectacular role in an Atlanta Braves dynasty.
- In 1998, the Astros needed to bolster their rotation to take a second straight shot at the post-season.
- So they traded for a flame-throwing Randy Johnson, who promptly went 10-1 for them with a 1.28 ERA;
- Still, they were eliminated by the San Diego Padres in the NLDS, where the Big Unit lost two games;
- The three prospects they traded -- Freddy Garcia, John Halama, and Carlos Guillen -- were integral parts when Seattle won 116 games in 2001;
- Johnson moved on after the season and cemented a Hall of Fame career by helping Arizona to a World Series title in 2001.
Now, Detroit's gotta hope one of the three prospects they received for Verlander will pan out.
- RHP Franklin Pérez, a Venezuelan who's only 19, is now considered to be their top farmhand;
- OF Daz Cameron -- son of Mike, who was a key member of that 2001 Mariners team -- who could become their everyday CF in a couple of seasons; and
- C Jake Rogers, who's virtually there defensively but needs to get his bat going consistently.
Sizzling since April, the 'Stros hit a mediocre patch in August, going 11-17.
In contrast, Verlander went vintage, going 4-1 with a 2.36 earnie, accompanied by 50 punchies against only 7 walks in 42 innings.
This could be a win-win. Detroit can afford to wait for their prospect haul to mature, and if one of them enjoys a long MLB career, they'll finally be even on the Alexander trade.
Meanwhile, Houston's in prime time.
It's where Verlander needs to be. This could be his last rodeo, and if so, he's come to a city where they know a thing or two about them.