The Tigers May Need to Gamble

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If we take what Matt has relayed to us at face value, the Tigers are currently projected to finish a close third in the AL Central.  On the one hand, that could be comforting since our third place finish in 2010 wasn’t close at all.  On the other hand, that says that if everything goes as expected – these are mean win totals – the Detroit Tigers miss the postseason yet again.

It’s also worth noting that while the Tigers and White Sox have already addressed most (if not quite all) of their offseason business, the Minnesota Twins have not.  We don’t hear much, but it sounds as though the Twins have better than 50/50 odds of getting Jim Thome and Carl Pavano back.  Are these projections made assuming both return?  One?  Neither?   Obviously the Twins would be significantly affected either way.

That’s not really what this post is about, though.  I don’t know if these CAIRO projections are perfect, and I don’t know if they’ve been based on the rosters we’ll ultimately see come April, and that doesn’t really matter.  What I know is that we see an ‘expected value’ (EV) for our win total less than the EV for the competition and I’d like to start a discussion of what that ought to mean for our strategy.

First things first, and here that means a bit of stating the obvious:  if we all do exactly what’s expected of us, we don’t make the playoffs.  We have to beat our projection by 1.7 more wins than the Twins beat theirs and 0.5 wins more than the Sox beat theirs in order to grab that Central pennant.