The Future Of The Detroit Tigers May Not Be So Bleak After All
The general consensus around baseball is that the Detroit Tigers are headed towards a forgettable future. With serious money invested in aging stars such as Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, many pundits view this team as one which will inevitably have to pay for mortgaging their future for a ring.
In reality, however, Dave Dombrowski has managed to prepare the Tigers to move on from this era of Detroit baseball while keeping their championship window propped open for a little longer.
It begins with the young core of position players that the Tigers’ general manager has quietly assembled. In fact, outside of Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Cabrera, Detroit’s starting nine is surprisingly young, given the narrative surrounding the team.
Between J.D Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Iglesias, Nick Castellanos, Alex Avila, and Anthony Gose, the average age is 26. Replace Avila with James McCann, who projects to be the Tigers’ heir-apparent at catcher, and the average is even lower.
Are these Detroit Tigers the Chicago Cubs? No. But they are certainly not the Philadelphia Phillies either.
Admittedly there are question marks to go around within that bunch. Will Cespedes stay? Is J.D Martinez a one-hit wonder? Can Anthony Gose ever hit?
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Similar questions are in the back of the minds of teams as well equipped for future success as the Cubs, however. And, as it stands, the future is bright in Detroit as it pertains to those six.
This spring, J.D. Martinez is hitting .340 with 5 HR, 11 RBIs and 36 total bases, Cespedes has expressed his desire to remain in Detroit, Iglesias has proven to be an elite defender, Castellanos continues to progress, Avila is one of the most valuable catchers in the game, and Gose has been just as excellent as Martinez in camp.
And, Detroit’s youth movement extends beyond the starting nine. Now, Keith Law was not off base in his criticism of the Tigers’ farm system, and this narrative surrounding Detroit did not arise from nowhere. However, there is talent in their minor league system.
First and foremost is Derek Hill, who “can run the 60-yard dash in less than 6.4 seconds,” and “has the bat-speed and strike-zone discipline to hit for average,” according to MLB.com. Then, there is Steven Moya who hit .276 with 35 HR and 105 RBI in Erie. The list is longer than you would think.
Yes, Detroit is short on young, elite arms. And, the Tigers’ big money obligations could handcuff them in adding any through free agency. But, if Dombrowski, can find a way to use his compensatory picks effectively, the Tigers’ fan-base could see their farm system quickly replenished.
The truth is, the Tigers are by no means guaranteed future success, but Dave Dombrowski is a bad man to bet against, and there are worse building blocks to begin with than Castellanos, Martinez, Cespedes, Iglesias, Gose, and McCann.
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