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Early returns on last winter's mega-trade

We never like to rush to judgment here, but on the other hand if there's a chance to make the Evil Empire look bad ...

    It’s still very early in the season, but so far, the Detroit Tigers have to be feeling O.K. about the Curtis Granderson trade.

    Not only is Granderson sidelined for what could be a month with a groin injury, Austin Jackson, who was the key piece for the Tigers in the three-team deal that sent Granderson to the Yankees, has shined this season as the team’s leadoff batter.

    --snip--

    Reliever Phil Coke, acquired by the Tigers from the Yankees in the same trade, has also performed well. Coke is 3-0 with a 1.93 earned run average, striking out 11 in 14 innings.

    Meanwhile, the starting pitcher Max Scherzer, sent to Detroit from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the same trade, had a solid April, going 1-1 with a 4.23 earned run average. But he took the loss Monday night after being battered for 10 earned runs in four and a third innings against the Minnesota Twins.

Unfortunately for Scherzer, May counts, too; he's now got a 6.47 ERA and his strikeout rate is way down from last season. Coke's 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA, but has walked eight batters in 14 innings. As for Mr. Jackson, he is -- quite improbably -- batting .532 on balls in play. Just by way of comparison, Albert Pujols' career mark is .317, which is a perfectly fine number (his career high is .359, way back in 2003).

So Scherzer hasn't pitched as well as his April ERA, Coke's control could be better, and Austin Jackson's batting average will tumble this month as sure as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Which doesn't mean it was a great trade for the Tigers. Obviously, Granderson's been a distaster, will probably enter June with a .225/.311/.375 line and he hasn't done anything in center field to make people forget Bobby Murcer. But even if Granderson was healthy and playing well, this still winds up a win for the Tigers, who saved some money and added three talented young players while giving up a veteran outfielder and a veteran (though still young) pitcher who has been killing his new team.

When this deal was made, the overwhelming consensus was that the Tigers cleaned up, the Yankees did well enough, and the Diamondbacks got rooked. There were so many moving parts -- all those guys mentioned above, plus Ian Kennedy and control-challenged minor leaguer Daniel Schlereth -- that it's impossible to know, this early in the first post-trade spring, who really did best.

But considering that the Yankees got one past-his-prime player, the Diamondbacks got two hard-throwing starting pitchers younger than 27, and the Tigers got four young players with some promise ... well, sometimes the thing does speak for itself. At least in April.