There are three components that playoff teams have that the Detroit Tigers do not
Playoff baseball this season has been crammed with electricity; between sell-out crowds and historic comebacks, there are reasons to be optimistic about the game’s state despite the cynical nature of some who declare the sport on life support. Life support, though, is what the Detroit Tigers must have felt like they were on for much of their season.
The club had precisely one day in which they were in first place in the AL Central during the entire 2022 season; this came thanks to their season opener win against the Chicago White Sox on April 8. Injuries to key expected contributors and down years from some of their veteran players spiraled their season. While they never reached the infamous 9-24 start in 2021, they were a game away at 9-23 before winning on May 13 against the Orioles to avoid consecutive season-killing starts.
Coming into the year, it was then-GM Al Avila’s goal to make the playoffs, although there was a lack of urgency with his quote that proved to be a microcosm of his tenure. A quote from before the season, courtesy of MLive’s Evan Woodbery:
"“We expect to win. We expect to go to the playoffs. If we fall short we fall short. But we’re setting the bar high. That’s our expectation.” – Al Avila"
It’s that ‘well if we don’t do it, we don’t do it’ attitude I believe that ultimately led to his dismissal, but there were signs that the Detroit Tigers were not ready for the playoffs, even assuming health. Their needs, which still very much exist presently, have been further communicated by this year’s playoff magic.
If the Detroit Tigers intend to make the playoffs next year, there are three key areas they’ll need to aim to improve this offseason.