The Athletic's Jim Bowden think the Detroit Tigers are a long way away from being contenders
The 2022 season was supposed to be the year the Detroit Tigers took a step forward. After a promising 2021 season, the team went out and signed SS Javier Baez and SP Eduardo Rodriguez to long term deals. They felt they were ready to compete.
We all know what happened next. The team stunk, AL Avila was fired, and Scott Harris was hired to try to clean up his mess. It was thought that the team was in such a poor state that they might need to "rebuild the rebuild," but Scott Harris has shown no desire to do that.
Former MLB GM Jim Bowden thinks differently, however. He writes in The Athletic (subscription required) that the Detroit Tigers are three to five years away from competing, and that the team will be bargain shopping on one-year deals this offseason in hopes to flip them at the deadline.
Bowden's hey day came in the late 90s, so it makes sense that he would think this. The Tigers just got done doing this, they don't need to do it again. Harris has said as much. He doesn't believe in these plans. Every offseason, he's looking to get better.
Scott Harris is not Al Avila. He's younger and much smarter. Other teams around the league have proven that you don't need to tear everything down after a bad season or two in order to compete again.
They've already been linked to free agent C Willson Contreras, who's projected to make $20-25 million a year. The Detroit Tigers have the payroll flexiblty to be able to add a big-name free agent.
2022 was a flop. There's no doubt about that. 2023 may not be much better. But there's no reason why the Detroit Tigers can't be a competitive baseball team by 2024. With some free agent signings and savvy trades combined with the debut of some top prospects like Colt Keith, the Tigers can be a force to be reckoned with in a year or two.
The Detroit Tigers don't need to tear it all down again. That would send a horrible message to the fans. Harris and A.J. Hinch didn't come here to do that. They're here to win. It might not happen right away, but this team should be able to start winning more games sooner rather than later.