How Many Winning Trades Did Dave Dombrowski Make for the Tigers?

Dave Dombrowski was fired today less than a year after helping to build a world champion in Boston (here’s my favorite headline about it).

Meanwhile, Eugenio Suárez, whom he traded away from the Tigers for nearly nothing, is quietly contending for the National League home run title. (Update: maybe not so quietly.)

But back in 2014, when Rany Jazayerli ran the numbers for Grantland, he found that Dombrowski’s trades netted a positive for Detroit a vast majority of the time, building a perennial contender through one of the most successful front office track records of the era. The numbers are still striking:

Between the time Dombrowski was hired after the 2001 season and the end of the 2012 season, the Tigers made a total of 58 trades by my reckoning. I broke down the results of every trade using bWAR to evaluate how the players performed in the five seasons after the deal. This is a simplistic method that doesn’t take into account the exact contract status, years to free agency, salary, etc., of each player, but it works well enough to evaluate all those trades in the aggregate.

The takeaway: Dombrowski has crushed his trading partners overall, and he’s done so with amazing consistency. In every season but one, he acquired more talent than he traded away. …

Overall, the Tigers have won their trades by a factor of more than 2-to-1 since Dombrowski was hired, for a surplus total of 104 wins over 11 years. That’s more than nine wins a year. Think about that: The Tigers have won roughly nine additional games every season under Dombrowski by using the trade market. Take away nine wins each year, and the Tigers would have posted a losing record over the last eight years, and would have made the playoffs just once, in 2011.

The only blemish on Dombrowski’s record came in 2007, when he made three bad trades in the span of three months.

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How the 2006 Tigers Were Built – by Rany Jazayerli

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