The Detroit Tigers wrapped up their season, with President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris and manager A.J. Hinch meeting select members of the media on Monday. They addressed several aspects of the 2023 season as the Miguel Cabrera era of baseball came to a close.
Over the weekend, Tigers fans flocked to Comerica Park to bid farewell to Miguel, resulting in the venue's first back-to-back sellouts since August 2014. The season concluded on a high note, with the team executing a successful weekend for fans. The strong finish to the second half of the season also contributed to the positive atmosphere; the Tigers went 39-34 in the latter half and finished with a winning road record of 41-40.
But there was plenty for Harris to address about the future of the ball club and what worked in 2023. Here are the three biggest takeaways of Monday's presser.
1. Waiver Wire wins
One of the jokes Harris made was how much the team loved combing the waiver wire. It paid off this season as both he and Hinch talked about how effective left-hander Tyler Holton was coming out of the bullpen and Andy Ibañez was a stabling force in the infield. Holton had the second best bWAR (3.0) on the team next to Eduardo Rodriguez. He posted a 2.11 ERA in 85 innings of work.
"We came into this, into this spring, Ibanez was trying to make our team as a third baseman because that was the position we all had targeted, including myself. It's like, what are we going to do with third base? We didn't put Andy at second base until he gets called up, and all of a sudden he became a plus second baseman and allowed the Vierling move to be made because Ibanez wasn't just playing third base. "- Scott Harris
Ibañez really found a home at second base this season, hitting .297/.357/.449 with an OPS of .806 in the second half of the season. But Hinch did yield caution when it comes to moral victories like this as the Tigers look to compete for a playoff spot in 2024.
"I've been also steadfast as the manager to be cautious on celebrating moral victories or these feel good stories that can distract you from like, we're just at this point now, we need to get to the next point to be a realistic threat. Hinch said. I will always enter the spring preaching to a team you need to win as many games as you can"- A.J. Hinch
"“We sorted out if we won the most, we're going to be a playoff team. Making predictions a day after the last day of the season is not something I'm ever going to do. But I can appreciate that the standard here certainly hasn't been felt in this city in a long time. The city deserves a playoff team"."- A.J. Hinch