Detroit Tigers fans will be watching the 2019 MLB playoffs from their own homes, but there are plenty of former Tigers who will be participating.
The 2019 MLB playoffs are underway, and multiple former Detroit Tigers players will be vying for a World Series trophy. While that can be painful for Tigers fans to see sometimes, it is also nice to see players who bled orange and blue for this team to see their dreams come true, even while the Tigers begin a lengthy rebuild.
Here are the 17 former Tigers in the playoffs, how they got there, and how they did this last season. (Note: I’m only including players who played for Detroit in the big leagues, not minor leaguers)
Three of the five NL teams have former Tigers on them. The Rockies and Dodgers do not.
Atlanta Braves: Anibal Sanchez
Sanchez, 34, came to the Tigers at the 2012 trade deadline along with Omar Infante in one of Detroit’s better deals. He departed after combining for a 6.09 ERA between 2016 and 2017. However, he found new life in Atlanta this season, going 7-6 in 24 starts with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He will be a part of Atlanta’s rotation in the playoffs.
Chicago Cubs: Justin Wilson
After coming over from the Yankees, left-hander Justin Wilson only spent 1.5 seasons in the Motor City. He was a bit rough in 2016, but looked excellent as Detroit’s closer in 2017, before he was shipped to Chicago alongside Alex Avila. The Tigers received third baseman Jeimer Candelario and infield prospect Isaac Paredes in return, a solid haul considering Wilson and Avila’s struggles post trade.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria, Curtis Granderson, Hernan Perez
If you’re rooting for former Tigers, the Brewers are your NL team. Four former Tigers populate Milwaukee’s roster. Knebel was traded to Texas for Joakim Soria. Both relievers ended up back in Milwaukee, where they are serving as a bridge to Josh Hader.
Perez was released by the Tigers and ended up finding his footing in Milwaukee, where he has been a highly-productive utility player. And Granderson caught on with the Brewers very recently, and may not crack their postseason roster.
Boston Red Sox: Rick Porcello, David Price, Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez
No surprise that Boston has so many ex-Tigers, as ex-Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is at the helm in Beantown. Starters Rick Porcello and David Price have both had very good seasons in Boston, helping lead the team to the best record in the league. Martinez blasted 43 home runs and lead the league with 130 RBI, making his first All-Star team since 2015 with Detroit. And finally, Ian Kinsler only spent a half season in LA before getting shipped up to Boston at the trade deadline, where he has struggled.
Cleveland Indians: Andrew Miller, Rajai Davis (Leonys Martin)
Leonys Martin is not going to suit up for Cleveland after a stomach issue kept him out for most of the second half of the season. The Indians also have dynamic left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, whom the Tigers traded ten years ago to acquire Miguel Cabrera. Rajai Davis signed with the Indians after two productive seasons in the Motor City.
Houston Astros: Justin Verlander
The most well-known former Tiger, Justin Verlander won a ring with the Astros after getting dealt in a midseason blockbuster last season.
Oakland A’s: Mike Fiers, Edwin Jackson, Fernando Rodney, Matt Joyce
Mike Fiers is the only A’s player who played for Detroit recently, having been dealt to Oakland this season for a pair of prospects. Jackson and Rodney last played for Detroit in 2009, and Joyce was gone in 2008.
The Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode, and that can make it hard to see former players go on to win championships with new teams. However, the prospects that Detroit gets in return will hopefully lead them down that same path in a few years.