Monday, July 31, 2006

Tigers' Trade For Casey Secondary To Shelton Demotion

So which is the bigger surprise: that the Tigers made a deadline deal -- giving away nothing, basically -- or that first baseman Chris Shelton was a casualty of the trade, being sent to AAA Toledo to make room for new first sacker Sean Casey?

The Tigers acquired the 32 year-old Casey from the Pittsburgh Pirates this morning for AA pitcher Brian Rogers. Casey, a lefthanded bat, is a career .300 hitter who's at .296 this season in 213 AB.

But Shelton's demotion, I believe, is what's going to be on most people's lips today and in the days to come.

Over at Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb?, I wrote recently that Shelton's hot start and apparent storybook season might not have a happy ending. His struggles since April are quite apparent, and he seemed weary of discussing it when I spotted him in the Tigers' clubhouse during the White Sox series. He's hitting .277, but it's not a solid .277. I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks that Chris Shelton, at this time, is a .277 hitter. He is, unfortunately, more like the below-.250 hitter who's been scuffling along since mid-May.

Casey is a smart pickup, considering the Tigers didn't have to surrender anything from their 40-man roster. He's a veteran guy, a multiple All-Star, who should fit in nicely.

Shelton will, most likely, be back in September when rosters expand. But his presence on a postseason roster -- should the Tigers qualify -- is very much in doubt. Most would say that Shelton's omission from a playoff roster was considered unthinkable at one time. It's still quite a surprise, despite his struggles. But this is a game of production, and those who produce will stay. The Tigers are doubtless very grateful for what Shelton provided them in April, but the decision to option him to Toledo was, in their eyes, necessary. And they're probably right.

The Tigers are most likely done with trades, but I suppose we'll all know at 4pm today.

Meanwhile, so long for now, Big Red -- go to Toledo and get your swing back. The Tigers might still need you yet.

1 comment:

Ozz said...

I don't know if I'd call the Shelton demotion an unhappy ending just yet, since it's true he'll probably be back.

But I agree that the demotion was a surprise. We all knew that he'd cool off and come back down to Earth after that hot start, but I can't imagine that anyone would've predicted he'd be in Toledo to start the month of August.

It's also kinda sad. I'd like to see him brought back up before September 1st so that he can be included on the post-season roster. Hell, if Dmitri Young is getting a second chance at 2006, Shelton should too.