A.J. Hinch says Detroit Tigers are not ready to compete
The Detroit Tigers are not a very good baseball team. As of this writing, they sit at 32-42 — 10 games under .500. However, because the AL Central is so pitiful, they are right in the thick of the division race. They currently sit at 5.5 games out of first place.
They are playing the first-place Minnesota Twins this weekend. They lost Friday night's game, but still have a chance to win the series and pull one game closer to the Twins. However, A.J. Hinch was having none of this division standings talk before Friday's game.
Hinch would go on to say the following:
"I’m just not used to bragging about being under .500 and not in first place. … I don’t think Tigers fans want us to be where we’re at right now for very long, either, so that’s just one big misdirection."- A.J. Hinch
Ouch. That quote may hurt to hear for Tigers fans, but Hinch is absolutley right. The Tigers are nowhere near being able to talk about winning the AL Central.
Yes, they are technically still in the race and it's the end of June, but they are not a good team. They have the fourth-worst run differential in the league at -73. With that run differential, they should be 29-45 if we go by pythagorean W/L.
They also still have a pretty bad roster, which has been made even worse because of injuries. Riley Greene is by far the team's best player, but he's currently on the IL. Eduardo Rodrigiuez threw a live BP today and looks to be on his way back, but he will likely be traded by the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning are very close to returning, which should help immensely, but they still don't have the pieces to be able to compete.
Tigers fans should take Hinch at his word. He knows what it takes to win. He's won a World Series, however you feel about the 2017 Astros. He went to another one in 2019. He's seen what a winning organization looks like. The Tigers are not there yet.
This offseason will be crucial. They need to add some pieces, whether it be through trades or free agency. This roster needs talent.
To think the Tigers could compete in the AL Central this year was never realistic, despite how bad the division is. Hinch knows that, and I think Scott Harris does too. Now they have to make sure they can compete in 2024 and beyond.