Detroit Tigers: Looking at the teams past roads to winning a title

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Relief pitcher Alex Wilson
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Relief pitcher Alex Wilson /

After last years housecleaning, the Detroit Tigers are in the process of rebuilding a championship club. Tiger fans spent the off-season in a state of despair.

How long will it be before the Detroit Tigers put a competitive team on the field? Here at Motor City Bengals we have studied this issue and have come up with a couple of examples.

The 1968 Tigers

For the 1968 Detroit Tigers, it took five years to prepare and field the bulk of the championship squad.

Only a young and future Hall of Famer, Al Kaline, skipped the rigors of the minor leagues.  For the bulk of the squad, it took years. Approximately, five years of toil passed before the Tigers competed on the national stage.

The 1984 Tigers

Conversely, it took five to seven years before future stars such as Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, Lou Whitaker and Kirk Gibson were ready and developed enough to field a championship team. Unless an owner is willing to “buy” a club via free agency, a team must go through the rigors of growth.

Tiger owner Chris Illich has publicly stated that he is financially committed to the Tiger rebuild. However, do not anticipate that free agents will be brought in anytime soon. For a team that finished with the worst record in major league baseball in 2017, the Tigers will have a payroll of $120 million.

Selling the Tigers is not an option. “Careful planning has been done over many years by Mike and Marian Illich to ensure the Detroit Tigers…remain under ongoing and long-term Illich ownership.”

So we are looking at the long road of a rebuilding.

2018 Detroit Tigers

If one was to speculate that the Tigers would be looking at a winning spring record in the first week of March 2018, would you be happy?

Moreover, assume that at this early stage their record would be 6 -2-1.  Players such as Miguel Cabrera, Nicholas Castellanos, and Jeimer Candelario all have batting averages over .300 and the defense looks great.

Next: too shifty for their own good

It’s important to remember how little preseason records mean in the scheme of things. Of course, you remember the 0-16 record of the Detroit Lions. Their preseason record was 4 and 0. Then remember the words of NY manager Aaron Boone. “I don’t put much stock in [preseason records]. The spring is about getting individuals ready to win games in the regular season.” With all the talk of rebuilding, how do you feel about the 2018 spring training games, so far?