Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus (7) during player introductions before game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers endured their fair share of injuries in 2015, but they also showed they are not close to contending for a World Series. The Tigers announced they will pursue two starting pitchers and multiple bullpen arms this season to try to get the quick fix they believe they need to contend instead of patiently building a team that can contend for years to come.
When one looks at the teams in the postseason, patience, not a quick fix, is key to success.
The New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros built teams different ways, but all were slow and painful. The Mets built theirs around a number of young elite starting pitching. The Cubs decided to build a lineup of young elite hitters and build the staff later. The Astros picked high enough in the draft to find both hitting and pitching.
No one hopes the Tigers becomes any of these three teams because that process is long and terrible, but it eventually yields results. The Royals are a year ahead of those three teams, but they struggled mightily to get there.
The only team that seems to build from themselves year in and year out is the St. Louis Cardinals. They seems to survive all injuries because of the depth of their farm system. When Adam Wainwright went down, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez, home grown products, stepped up and help carry the rotation. As painful as it sounds, the Tigers want to be the Cardinals, but they are very far away from that.
The Tigers have used the model the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the 2013 Boston Red Sox use. The Dodgers compiled a $300 million roster with players from a number of backgrounds. They made big moves, much like the Tigers, but they have paid off more in 2015. The Tigers do not have the same budget as the Dodgers so they will not be able to sign and trade for as many players, but much like the Tigers, the Dodgers are still searching for a World Series title.
The Toronto Blue Jays went a different route than the Tigers, but they were patient before they went all-in. The Jays made a number of moves to compile their roster, but they based their team around Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Once they believed they were close enough to add the final pieces, they added David Price and Troy Tulowitzki. Patience was key. They added the cast aways from the Miami Marlins and stuck with their players which has led to their 2015 AL East victory.
Finally, the Tigers are trying to emulate the 2013 Boston Red Sox. In 2012, the Red Sox finished 69-93, last in the AL East. They added a number of players most teams did not want. The Tigers felt the aftermath of their quick fix in the ALCS.
The Tigers believe they are close enough like Boston was in 2013 and are going to the quick fix. Teams that consistently contend patiently build from within and consistently produce players that can contribute to their team. The Tigers want to try one more time working their way before they may change and build from within.