Ladies and gentleman, it is officially the offseason. We're hoping for a really exciting offseason where the Detroit Tigers make an effort to be competitive in 2024.
It sounds like national media outlets are hoping for the same thing. ESPN recently released its way-too-early 2024 MLB power rankings, and the Tigers are ranked 18th.
While 18th is not amazing, they're above the bottom third of the league for the first time in what feels like forever. With some smart moves this offseason, they could be even higher heading into spring training.
Here's part of ESPN's rationale for ranking the Tigers where it ranked them:
"The Tigers appear to finally be moving in the right direction. They had a winning record in the second half, when the rotation had the seventh-best ERA in the majors. Tarik Skubal was a beast when he returned in July, with a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts and terrific peripherals. Reese Olson had a promising rookie season. If they can keep Matt Manning healthy (he had two separate IL stints after getting hit twice in the right foot), get Casey Mize back from Tommy John surgery and have Eduardo Rodriguez stick around (he has an opt-out clause), this could be a really good rotation."- David Schoenfield, ESPN
The Tigers were ranked 21st in ESPN's final 2023 rankings, so they've already moved up three spots without making a single move. The fact that one national media outlet is already fond of them is a good sign heading into the offseason.
What's even more interesting is which teams they are ahead of. They are ahead of both the Reds (19) and the Guardians (20), as well as the Marlins (22), a team that made the playoffs in 2023. The Reds already have a ton of young talent in the big leagues, with more on that way. It's very interesting to see the Tigers ahead of Cincy.
They are also ahead of the Giants (24), a team that is expected to make some big moves this offseason. They aren't far behind the reigning NL Central champion Brewers, either (16). Things could finally be coming up Tigers.
Do these power rankings mean much in the grand scheme of things? Not really, but it is cool to see at least one national media outlet show some respect to the Detroit Tigers. Hopefully, more is on the way.