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Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz Trade

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August 12, 1987
Detroit Tigers get: Atlanta Braves get:
Doyle Alexander John Smoltz

On August 12, 1987, the Atlanta Braves dealt pitcher Doyle Alexander to the Detroit Tigers for minor league pitcher John Smoltz.

Before the trade the Tigers had been very upfront about their desire to acqurie Alexander. After an inital list of four players for the Braves to choose from was shot down, scout John Hagemann suggested Smoltz, who he had seen while scouting the other players on the list with the Glens Falls Tigers. Further discussions between the two clubs front offices lead to the talks centering around the Braves getting either Smoltz or Steve Searcy. Detroit's front office was divided, as a part of long conflict between GM Bill Lajoie and team president Jim Campbell, between who to send. Finally the decision was made by Campbell to send Smoltz because Searcy was closer to being major league ready.

In the short-term, Alexander was a stud. In 11 starts for the Tigers, Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA. His pitching helped the Tigers win the AL East in 1987 but the Tigers lost the ALCS to the Twins.

On the other hand, Smoltz was just a year out of high school and was sent to Richmond for more seasoning while Alexander helped the Tigers to the division crown. In 1988, Smoltz debuted with the Braves and twenty seasons later, he has more than 200 wins, 150 saves, a Cy Young Award, and eight All-Star appearances.

Overall, this trade is remembered as one sided but Alexander did help the Tigers to win the division title and was named an All-Star the following season.


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