Detroit Tigers Spiraling Towards Mediocrity


The Detroit Tigers are now third in the competitive American League Central. They find themselves staring up at the Minnesota Twins, who many predicted to finish in last place. The Cleveland Indians are hot and nipping at the Tigers and the Chicago White Sox haven’t yet woke up.

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Think back to a year ago when this Tiger team contained Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, a different Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and a healthy Victor Martinez. Although the kryptonite of that team was the bullpen, look at the difference a year makes. Where did our 2014 very talented and hungry Detroit Tigers finish? Being swept in the American League Divisional Series by the Baltimore Orioles.

Flash forward to this year’s Tigers team. No Max Scherzer, no Rick Porcello, a missing Justin Verlander and an unhealthy Victor Martinez. Sure we gained David Price, Shane Greene, Alfredo Simon, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Iglesias, a consistent Joakim Soria and Anthony Gose. But David Price is not arguably the Cy Young award winner we traded for. Cespedes’ production doesn’t come close to the production we had from VMart.  Iglesias is inconsistent due to injuries and Gose is a utility player. Simon and Greene don’t provide the same stability as a consistent Sanchez, Porcello and Scherzer.

Can the 2015 Detroit Tigers win the division and advance to the World Series? Not in its current state.

Ok, so let’s say we get Verlander back and he contributes. Iglesias fights the injury bug. Victor returns healthy and slugs back to his true form. Simon and Greene stay relatively consistent, Soira continues. Then we might have a chance. But that’s a lot to ask from this team and in this early season, seems unlikely.

I’ve waited thirty-one years to see another Detroit Tiger championship. The Tigers sniffed it in 2006 and 2012. The Tigers have built a team that might rival the Buffalo Bills in coming close to championships and not winning with the talent that they had. 2013 was supposed to be their year. Then 2014. Then 2015.

This 2015 team? Would get smoked by the 2013 or 2014 team. They just aren’t going to do it.

The Kansas City Royals, the Houston Astros, the Minnesota Twins. They have an intangibles the Tigers are lacking – hunger, grit and determination. Let’s not kid ourselves that Torii Hunter brought to the table a leadership quality that is missing this year from the clubhouse. Let’s also be honest that David Price and Yoenis Cespedes are buying time to get to their next destination.

Where does that leave this Tiger team that is playing for it all this year?   Falling short. So what does Dombrowski have to do? He needs a big stick in the lineup. He needs a quality starting pitcher to win it all this year. But when he goes to his cupboard to look to swap out, Old Mother Hubbard is bare.

Thus it begs the question – if the Tigers can’t’ win this year, what do they do and when do to they do it? Why not dump Price for something. Or Cespedes for something. It leaves you with a strong core – Victor Martinez, Kinsler, Cabrera, Verlander, Sanchez, Gose, J.D. Martinez and you build around it for 2016.

The San Francisco Giants did this in 2013 when they realized they weren’t going to win and look where it got them? Another World Series title in 2014. It can and should be done when they know it’s time.

I’m not advocating it’s time yet. But let’s keep our minds open if it becomes time.

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