Detroit Tigers: A look at the possible timeline for the future

The Detroit Tigers are rebuilding, which could take a while. Here is a comprehensive look at the possible timeline for their future.

The Detroit Tigers are coming off of their worst year since 2003, and have been in a downhill slide since 2015. This has left many fans wondering about the future of the franchise, and when the Tigers will be competitive again. Here is a look at what to expect over the next few years.


The 2020 season will probably wind up being a lot like the 2019 season for Detroit. Fans shouldn’t expect much in terms of contending, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other reasons to watch. 2020 could very well be the year that Detroit sees top prospects like Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Isaac Paredes at the major league level.

The performance of prospects, along with the free agents Detroit picks up during this offseason, will determine how the 2020 season progresses. It will not be surprising if the Tigers end up having a worse season than they did in 2019, or even worse than the infamous 2003 team. Detroit started out the 2019 season on the right foot and had Nicholas Castellanos and Shane Greene on the roster. Without these high-impact players, it is likely that Detroit’s entire 2020 season will look more like the second half of the 2019 season.


The 2020 offseason will open up a lot of money for Detroit to spend. Jordan Zimmermann‘s contract will end, and Detroit will finally be free of payments to the Texas Rangers for the Prince Fielder deal. This will allow Detroit to pursue more valuable free agents. While it isn’t likely that any blockbuster deals will be made in this offseason, the market will open up a lot more and set Detroit up for a more successful 2021 season.

The 2021 season itself will likely be another down year, but not as bad as 2019 or 2020. Ideally, prospects will develop in 2020 and have better performances in 2021. In addition to this, Detroit will probably sign at least two somewhat valuable free agents to help speed up the rebuilding process. The Tigers will probably finish with around 60 or 70 wins in 2021.

2022 and beyond

Assuming Detroit’s prospects and free-agent signings aren’t complete busts, 2022 is the year that Detroit will likely start looking somewhat competitive again. By this season, current top prospects should have enough major league experience to perform at an elite level. Detroit will have also likely spent some big bucks on top free agents.

Detroit will probably not get too far in 2022, but this is when they will steadily get more competitive each year. If all their first-round picks start paying off, the Tigers will be a very strong franchise moving into the mid-2020s. Hopefully, this time they will be able to bring a championship to mo-town.

The Detroit Tigers are looking at a rough couple of years coming up, but if everything goes well, these tough years could pay off in a big way. These years may seem painful, but it should be enjoyable to watch the progress of the young prospects and to see who will represent the future of the franchise.