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Tigers Rumors: Cespedes, Defense, Another Starter, 2nd Worst Signing of the Year

The Detroit Tigers would still like to add another starter, GM Dave Dombrowski doesn't deny involvement in pursuing Yoenis Cespedes and suggests that a defensive alignment is still possible even after adding Prince Fielder and moving Miguel Cabrera, and Dave Cameron of FanGraphs succinctly sums up what every TigersFan fears the most: acquiring Fielder might help now, but it could cripple the franchise (and owner Mike Illitch won't even be around to see the wreckage):

Dombrowski: Strong defensive lineup is an option | Detroit Free Press
But what about the defense? "It's not our strength," general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday at the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association's Tiger Day. "So you give and you take."

The Tigers recently gave up a little defense to acquire a lot of offense -- signing Prince Fielder to play first base and moving Miguel Cabrera from first base to third base. But, as Dombrowski said, over the course of a season, manager Jim Leyland can get some of that defense back on a night-to-night basis.

The 10 Worst Transactions Of The Winter | FanGraphs Baseball
Prince Fielder is a good player, but this is three years and about $70 million too much for what he brings to the table. Yes, the Tigers are in win-now mode, and yes, Fielder makes them better in the short term, but the reality is that if the Tigers had this kind of payroll flexibility, they should have simply been far more active earlier in the off-season, as they could have improved their roster significantly more by spreading the cash around to bring in multiple players and fill a number of holes.

Instead, the team overreacted to the Victor Martinez injury and compromised the long term health of the organization for a short term gain in the standings. The fact that Mike Illitch might not be around to see the end of the contract doesn’t make the deal any less damaging to the Tigers franchise – it just means that the current owner is borrowing from the next owner’s pockets in order to achieve his own personal goal.

Of all the moves made this winter, this is the one that has the potential to really cripple a franchise – they need it to pay off in 2012, because the long term costs of this deal are going to be extremely harmful to the organization.