After a fast start to the offseason, things came to a screeching halt as the calendar turned to 2024. Things really slowed down in January. Thankfully, it's finally coming to an end, and we'll have actual baseball to talk about soon enough.
But before we do that, it's time to take one last look at the offseason and see how Scott Harris and company did. What did they do? How did they do it? Did they do enough? These will be all be things that we will answer here today.
It's time to grade the 2023-24 offseason. How did the Tigers do this time around? Let's find out.
Free agency: B
If there's one recurring theme you'll see in these trades, it'll be that it's unfair to say the Tigers did absolutely nothing this offseason, because that's just not true. They made several free agent signings. Heck, they even signed one to a multi-year deal!
The Tigers signed Kenta Maeda, Jack Flaherty, Andrew Chafin, and Shelby Miller to major league contracts this offseason, with Maeda being the one to get a two-year deal. Three of those four signings are quality big leaguers that should help the team win games in 2024.
The lone exception is, of course, Flaherty. I'm biased because I personally think he doesn't have anything left in the tank. I did a whole slideshow article on this. I think he's cooked. But the Tigers gave him $14 million for 2024. That's...quite a commitment to somebody who's pitched more than 100 innings in a season just once since 2019.
Many will complain about not signing a third baseman this offseason, and I fully agree with the sentiment. But free agency wasn't the place to acquire a third baseman, at least not this offseason. The only good one available was Matt Chapman, and he's really, really holding out for that long term deal. He did not have a good season last year, and teams are calling his bluff. There's a reason he's still unsigned as of this writing.
Overall, the Tigers did a good job in free agency. They didn't make a big splash, but they did enough to earn a B.
The Tigers made one major trade this offseason, and that was when they acquired OF Mark Canha from the Brewers way back in November. That was a good start to the offseason, but they needed to do more. Sadly, that was the only addition via trade that the team made.
This is how the Tigers should have gotten a third baseman. They should have traded for one. They had the resources to pull it off. They just chose to not, which is unfortunate.
Now, they did dump off some roster fodder in Nick Maton and Tyler Nevin, who were both dealt to the Orioles after being DFA'd. I'll give the front office some brownie points for that. Getting rid of bad players is always good. But they really should have done more.
Still, the one trade they did was good, so they get a C in this department.
Other (Rule 5 draft, non-roster moves, etc.): A
Outside of making actual additions to the big league club, this was a great offseason for the Tigers. It started with the announcement of Jason Benetti as the team's next TV play-by-play announcer. It's hard to get anyone better than him.
Then they skipped their selection in the Rule 5 draft, which was a great start to their path back to competitiveness. They don't need some random minor leaguer clogging up a spot on the roster.
Last, but certainly not least, they extended top prospect Colt Keith, which is such a good move for the organization. It's so nice to see them invest in a young player like this.
The non-team building aspects of this offseason were fantastic. They get an easy A here.
Overall grade: B-
Rounding up everything, the Tigers get a B- for their offseason efforts. They made several quality additions to the roster. Not getting a third baseman holds the grade back. That's a huge misstep, one we even took off an additional half-letter grade for. But the other moves, along with the rest of the team-related news this offseason help bring the grade up a bit. A B- is what they get, which is a huge improvement over last offseason's D-grade.