Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila kept most of the team’s veteran core together in the offseason. All things considered, Detroit has a chance to return to the playoffs and make a deep run.
Detroit Tigers fans could have seen a very different offseason.
However, the only player that the Tigers ended up trading was center fielder Cameron Maybin.
The veteran outfielder was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a trade that netted pitching prospect Victor Alcantara.
Alcantara is one of a handful of new players who could potentially contribute next seasons.
Otherwise, the majority of Detroit’s additions have come via minor league free agency.
A partial or full rebuild could have conceivably helped long-term, but there’s no telling what Detroit would have received on the trade market.
What’s more, this Tigers team is poised to contend.
Health is Key
Greene and Wilson, two of the team’s best setup men, posted ERAs of 4.14 and 5.55 respectively. However, both pitchers logged encouraging SIERA numbers, at 3.21 and 3.02 respectively.
If the duo’s ERA numbers fall closer to their SIERA stats from last season, Detroit’s bullpen could be one of the league’s best.
Weakened Division Rivals
While the Detroit Tigers didn’t move any standout performers, some of the team’s division rivals did.
Cleveland obviously added Edwin Encarnacion in free agency. However Detroit won’t likely lose 14 of 18 games to their division rivals next season.
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All told, Detroit’s win-loss should benefit greatly from weakened competition in the Central.
Anything is Possible in the Playoffs
In reality, the baseball playoffs are a crapshoot.
Unlike the NFL or the NBA where some postseason teams are significantly better than others, most of Major League Baseball’s playoff squads boast similar amounts of talent—similar enough that any team can go on a run with the right momentum.
While momentum is key in the playoffs, another prominent factor is excellent starting pitching.
The Tigers potentially have that in spades.
Justin Verlander once again established himself as an ace last season, while Michael Fulmer enjoyed a breakout season.
With a pair of aces at the top of the rotation, Detroit could make some serious noise. Should Norris continue his break out, and if Zimmermann bounces back, the Tigers will be a tough out.
Add some timely hitting from the team’s stacked lineup and the Detroit Tigers have all the ingredients to make a run at the World Series trophy.