It was a balmy evening on Aug. 13, 2014 at Comerica Park as the Detroit Tigers battled the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Brad Ausmus signals to the bullpen and Joe Nathan is called to the bump. Nathan faced four batters, lobbed 20 pitches, earned two walks, and poetically flipped off Detroit Tigers fans all in the span of one inning pitched.
Family-friendly baseball, am I right?
It’s easy to get caught up in the past and be nostalgic about your favorite teams and some of the more “distinguished” moments such as the one I just described.
The good, the bad, and in the words of Los Angeles Dodger Max Scherzer “Man, how did we not win a World Series while we were here?”
Graceful gestures aside, 2014 is one of those seasons in Tigers history that fits in with the latter. This team, in particular, was nothing short of elite, with players going on to win Cy Young awards, Triple Crown, and MVP titles, and some are, no doubt, future Hall of Famers.
I’ve selected a handful of fan favorites and reviewed their stats on Baseball-Reference and it’s almost laughable the depth and amount of talent the Detroit Tigers had in years prior and in 2014 specifically.
But where are they now?
Detroit Tigers infield
Alex Avila, son of General Manager Al Avila, spent eight seasons with the Tigers. Between the time he called Detroit home, and the time his father traded him before Thanksgiving dinner, Avila earned a trip to the All-Star game and a Silver Slugger award in 2011. During his tenure with the Tigers, Avila had a career slash line of .245/.350/.404 and now plays for the Washington Nationals with a meager .187/.357/.347.
Before he was Hall of Fame lock Miggy, Miguel Cabrera was a World Series winner when he played with the Florida Marlins in 2003. As we’re all aware, Cabrera has dominated the game of baseball ever since, luckily mostly accomplished in a Tigers uniform. Since being picked up by the Tigers in 2008, Cabrera hit the career milestone of 500 home runs and is well on course to 3,000 hits. He’s a 2x MVP, 11x All-Star, 7x Silver Slugger, and a Triple Crown winner. In 2014, Miggy hit .313/.371/.524 as opposed to a slower-paced .263/.326./.402 this year. We have been witness to a legend in the making.
Where do I begin? Probably when Ian Kinsler tossed up the “binoculars” when Chris Sale accused the Tigers of stealing signs and simultaneously stealing our hearts. A 4x All-Star, 2x Gold Glove winner, and 2018 World Series winner, Kinsler is a true (and literal) “rub some dirt on it,” type of ballplayer. Batting .275/.307/.420, Kinsler knocked 17 home runs and 92 RBI in 2014, ending his career averaging .269/.337/.440. Recently, Kinsler joined the men’s Israeli baseball team at the Tokyo Olympics and continues his work with Warstic.
Nicholas, formerly “Nick,” Castellanos struggled at times with the Tigers, particularly during his stand-in right field. At just 22 years of age, Castellanos had a slash line of .259/.306/.394 in 2014. The Reds All-Star quickly found his groove and there’s a drive deep into left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run. Meme aside, Castellanos has matured at the plate batting .315/.370./.574 with 28 home runs on the year. And still interrupts with them at the strangest times.