Nick Castellanos Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Tigers’ farm system better than you may think in recent years – George Sipple, Detroit Free Press
"Recently, espn.com’s Keith Law ranked the Tigers as having the third-worst farm system in Major League Baseball. Is it really that bad on the farm? Nope. The track record for the Tigers suggests otherwise. Whether by drafting and developing a homegrown player or trading a draft pick, the Tigers have done just fine over the years."
For what it’s worth, I’ve always viewed minor league rankings in the same vein of ranking college football recruiting classes. Sure a lot of the top classes pan out, but you never know how recruits are going to play as college players (i.e. Michigan’s top five recruiting class the last three years).
Remember when the Tigers were named Baseball America’s Organization of the Year in 1997 because of their “rich” minor leagues? The next six years when those prospects should have been making waves in the majors, the club went 377-593 (.389 winning percentage).
"The Tigers fielded a team last season with the fifth-highest payroll — $148.7 million — according to Baseball Prospectus. Their payroll figures to be at least $12 million higher this season, despite tradingPrince Fielder and Doug Fister. And that doesn’t include the $30 million that the Tigers promised to Texas in the Fielder-for-Kinsler trade."
Many incorrectly think the Tigers were looking to dump salary this off-season, however they were taking the pruning sheers to it, knowing salaries would rise elsewhere. Tigers’ fans get anxious when it looks like the team is trying to trim payroll, but the truth is Detroit is not New York and they have to be smart about their payroll in order to stay competitive.
This Tigers team sealed serious cracks that left last season’s playoff run in crumbles – Lynn Henning, Detroit News
"No longer must they contend with Prince Fielder. It’s a cruel indictment of a hefty left-handed hitter who drove in more than 100 runs in each of the past two seasons and who no doubt will get a truckload of big hits this year for the Rangers. But as 2013 wore on, the Tigers more and more resembled a team that was bogging down in ways they could not sustain if they hoped to win again in 2014."
Henning contends that by shoring up defense and making the team a bit more fleet of foot on the base pads, they will be a better team in 2014. It’s hard to argue that logic even though fans have concerns with offensive power and the bullpen heading into Spring Training.