Jul 13, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Conversely, what has disappointed you?
Matt Snyder: I thought Brad Ausmus might be a little bit more progressive with his lineup construction and in-game management strategies, but he’s been pretty much by-the-book. Not much of what frustrated us about Jim Leyland has gone away. Case in point: 59% of Don Kelly‘s starts have come in either the five or six slot in the batting order.
Chris Hannum: I’ll go with the lack of trade buzz around the Tigers relief corps to top the list. Combine that with last offseason’s moves and Dombrowski’s decision to go with a decent (but not BA blue chip) prospect from AA at short rather than look outside the organization and you get a general impression that the Tigers are not – at least at this point – willing to do whatever it takes to get a championship. The Tigers are going to do what they can and hope for the best.
Michael Emmerich: Justin Verlander. And Justin Verlander. And him again. He’s been the Tigers’ worst starter. He ranks something like 54 out of 62 qualified starters in the AL in xFIP and SIERA. Frankly, he’s stunk. Short term it’s a problem. Long term it’s a bigger problem. Perhaps he’s still struggling to recover from his surgery, as others in the press have speculated, and next year he comes roaring back. But his loss in velocity is probably here to stay, so he will need to adjust to that reality before returning to the pitcher he was.
Grant Stoye: Torii Hunter‘s drop off and the lack of Andy Dirks. Hunter seems to have gone from chiseled 38-year-old to creaky 57-year-old over the course of one offseason. I can barely watch him in the OF anymore. And I’m still waiting for Dirks to come back and be half of an amazing platoon with Rajai Davis.
Tom Zahari:The baserunning has disappointed me a bit. This isn’t just steals, but sometimes the boneheaded mistakes that are made on the bases at times and it has been attributed to “just being aggressive”. I really thought it would be better.
Blair Tatrault: The bullpen. Every year the Tigers go into the offseason with a need to fortify the pen, but it never seems to get solved. Lock-down bullpens are a thing of beauty–I’ve admired them from afar on other teams and would feel a lot better about the Tigers’ postseason chances if they could assemble the proper pieces here in Detroit.
Matt Pelc: I was thinking the defense would be better. I believe the infield is better, however the outfield is worse than it was last year. Torii Hunter looks completely lost in right field. Even routine outs look like Brennan Boesch has returned. Rajai Davis in left has been okay, J.D. Martinez is average out there, and Austin Jackson has all the tools to be a great centerfielder but is too timid to take that next step.
Josh Scramlin: If I had to pick something to be disappointed in, I would have to say the fact that we traded for Alex Gonzalez, whom is not good at all, and drop him just a few weeks later. It looked like an act of desperation to me. But if you’re going to make a move like that, stand behind it. And on top of that, don’t give up a young player for absolutely nothing. Even if Lombordozzi ended up not being that good, it’d be better than trading for a guy and dropping him less than a month later. It just looked dumb and I know the Tigers are better than that.
Sam O’Toole: Torii Hunter has hit 12 home runs so far for the Tigers, but his overall play–especially his defense–hasn’t quite matched last year for the right fielder. He is a year older, but even some routine fly balls have proven difficult for Hunter. He has a career-low -0.7 WAR in 2014. So essentially, he has hurt the Tigers more than helped.
Josie Parnell: Two names. Joe Nathan. Torii Hunter. Both former Twins have been terrible. Disappointing is an understatement, especially for Nathan, who has just been nothing of what we were expecting.