Detroit Tigers refuse to be active with another lackluster offseason

The Detroit Tigers saw offseason after offseason come and go with no big activity, and that remains true this year. Is this trusting youngsters or missed chances?
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

Another offseason comes and goes while Chris Iitch and his henchmen sit back, relax with a "Hot-N-Ready" pizza, and rip the Detroit Tigers fans off by fielding a team of minor leaguers who have been players and unproven talent. That's the smell of springtime in Detroit.

An offseason in 2023 includes names like Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Jordan Montgomery, and plenty of others; the Detroit Tigers signed Kenta Maeda, Jack Flaherty, Andrew Chafin, and Shelby Miller. Oh boy, if only it were 2019 again.

Kenta Maeda is 35 and has already missed entire seasons with injuries in his career. Jack Flaherty is a major comeback candidate after the one-year deal he signed. He had a great 2019 campaign with St. Louis posting a 2.75 ERA; in 2021, he had a 3.22 ERA. However, since then, he has posted a 4.25 ERA in 2022 and a 4.99 ERA in 2023 between St. Louis and Baltimore. That's not terrible, but it leaves room for improvement.

Andrew Chafin returns to the Tigers after a season split between Arizona and Milwaukee. He posted a 4.73 ERA, so he slots in as a middle relief pitcher in an already decently strong bullpen. Then there is Shelby Miller. Oh, Shelby, remember when he was traded to Arizona for Dansby Swanson in 2015? Yeah, Shelby was in his prime in 2015. NINE YEARS AGO! Miller has posted an ERA under 5.00 just twice since 2015, including 2017 and 2023. Now, Miller had a great 2023 season with the Dodgers, sporting a nifty 1.71 ERA in 36 games coming out of the bullpen.

Are we supposed to buy that a player who has had two good years over the past seven years will suddenly have a career resurgence at age 33? Is that what we have come to as a fan base? I surely hope I am not the only one who sees the problem here.

The Detroit Tigers offseason decisions have been a problem.

So, what could the Tigers have done differently? I fully understand that they will not go out and sign Shohei Ohtani or Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, and true top-of-the-line free agents. But the Tigers are not a complete team. They have holes. Any person with a pulse could tell you that.

Third base is a complete wreck. Was there an answer for that in free agency? Yes. His name is Matt Chapman. He is an All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner who doesn't hit for the best average but averages 29 home runs per 162 games in his career. Not to mention Whit Merrifield was available up until recently. Instead, the Tiger fans get Matt Vierling or Zach McKinstry.

Left field has the potential to be a mess. Was there someone to fix that? Of course, there was. Cody Bellinger still sits on the market, with teams seemingly unwilling to jump in and sign him. Bellinger had a great season with the Cubs, hitting .307 with 26 home runs. Instead, we get to go through the Akil Baddoo experience again. Oh, joy.

If you are Chris Ilitch, you clearly refuse to break the bank on anything except your pizza empire, so perhaps you want to stay away from Bellinger. That is just fine because, luckily, there is Tommy Pham, who, although he is not a great player, would be able to track down a fly ball without looking like his shoes are tied together and can hit major league pitching. Andrew Chafin is a fine signing, but seeing Liam Hendricks sign with Boston for nearly the same price is upsetting yet believable.

Chris Ilitch, Scott Harris, and the Detroit Tigers continue to sit back in free agency instead of setting the tone in the offseason.

So the question is, do the Tigers believe in the youngsters that are coming up in the system, or do they just not want to spend money? Waiting to hit on a prospect at every position seems extreme. The best teams get a few good prospects to hit and build around them with some free agents. It is usually a good mix.

There has to be a willingness from ownership, an understanding from management, and a desire in coaching to spend money and form a great team. One or more of those are missing.

Year after year, the Tigers sign free agents who are big enough to send a push notification to fans' phones so it looks like they are trying. But those push notifications get swiped away about as quickly as the Tigers' playoff hopes, and nobody talks about them until they hit the field, and you can almost hear the collective "Oh yeah, I forgot we signed that guy." Never do they sign free agents that make you want to call your friend in excitement, banter with a rival fan, or buy a jersey. Mr. Harris, please wake up; your job continues in the offseason. Oh yeah, and Mr. Ilitch, if you could allow and encourage your GM to spend money, that would be great.