Detroit Tigers: Assessing whether team can contend in next two seasons
Returning to some form of contention in the next two years is possible
Let’s get this out of the way first, the Detroit Tigers will probably need a lot of bounce-back performances for the team to improve.
The team will also need some prospects and additions from outside the organization to immediately make an impact.
That’s all easier said than done and may require some good fortune, but the Tigers certainly aren’t a team devoid of talent.
Resurgent seasons from Michael Fulmer and Miguel Cabrera will give the team a solid base to build on.
Meanwhile, the offense should also benefit from continued improvements from the likes of Nicholas Castellanos, Mikie Mahtook, Jeimer Candelario and James McCann.
The reality is that Detroit should be fine offensively even if Ian Kinsler is dealt. Teams have done better with worse offenses.
Where the Tigers really need to take steps forward, regardless of their place in the standings, is in the pitching department.
Whether it be the rotation or the bullpen, improvements are needed.
Matthew Boyd, Daniel Norris and Jordan Zimmermann all struggled at times last season, while the relievers were the only bullpen unit to have a collective WAR (-1.2) below zero.
The positive news here is that there is potential for improvement and effectiveness out of Detroit’s pitchers.
If Boyd and Norris pitch like 2.0+ fWAR pitchers and Zimmermann regains some past form and consistency, it would go a long ways towards stabilizing the rotation and the pitching staff as a whole.