Lessons from the offseason thus far

Dave Dombrowski has made some odd moves, but they will likely work out. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The hot stove season typically doesn’t get white-hot until the winter meetings, but general managers decided to break the rules this year and we’ve seen tons of action already, with the Robinson Cano contract and Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade being the most notable.

As we head into the winter meetings, I thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and reflect on what has happened thus far. Here are three key takeaways from everything we’ve seen leading up to the winter meetings.

Lesson No. 1: The Tigers improved despite being on the wrong end of two big trades

Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is no stranger to blockbuster trades, and he made a pair of surprising deals this winter that left many in the industry puzzled.

First, he sent Fielder and $30 million in cash to Texas for Kinsler. Fielder is younger and a much more potent hitter, and despite a down year, he hasn’t shown the same kind of decline Kinsler has over the last couple of seasons.

The other deal was sending right-hander Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for lefty reliever Ian Krol, utilityman Stephen Lombardozzi and lefty pitching prospect Robbie Ray. Again, a light return even if you think Ray is a solid prospect, which he is.

To make matters worse, this was the worst time to trade Fister.