The 2021 Detroit Tigers were not a good team. They finished with a record of 77-85, good for third place in the AL Central. But they were fun to watch.
That team was scrappy. A.J. Hinch knew he didn't have a ton of talent on that team, so he played to that team's strength, which was speed. He pushed all the right buttons, calling for bunts, squeeze plays, and a ton of steals. They found ways to win games they shouldn't have won.
The 2023 iteration of the Detroit Tigers are similar in a lot of ways.
They may not have the speed the team had two years ago, but they have also found ways to win games they shouldn't have. They're scrappy, much like the 2021 team, but instead of using speed, they grind out at-bats and make opposing pitchers work.
Last night's game against the Houston Astros was a perfect example. The Tigers did not have a hit for the first seven innings of the game before Kerry Carpenter knocked a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.
The team rallied with three straight singles from Miggy, Zach McKinstry, and Javy Baez to tie the game. Then, Parker Meadows — in his fourth big league game — stepped up to the plate. He got himself into a hitter's count, and then this happened:
This walk-off home run will end up being one of, if not the best moment of the 2023 season. Just a specacular moment for Parker and his family.
Much like the 2021 team, the 2023 Tigers don't have a ton of talent. Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Kerry Carpenter are quickly forming a core, but they could still use some pieces to help supplement those three.
After the 2021 season, the Tigers decided to spend significant money for the first time in years that offseason, bringing in the likes of Baez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Andrew Chafin, and eventually Austin Meadows. Unfortunately, it didn't work, and it ultimately cost Al Avila his job.
But now, with a different front office — and a different philosophy — the Tigers should be poised to spend again, especially with multiple big contracts likely coming off the books in Miggy and E-rod.
They have an opportunity to add to this core and make them better with more pieces around them. This team is not that far off from competing in this division, especially considering how bad it is.
The White Sox are a dumpster fire. The Royals are in a never-ending rebuild. Who knows what's going to happen with Cleveland and Minnesota? This division is ripe for the taking.
This team fits squarely into the "bad, but fun" category. With a few additions, we may finally be able to drop the "bad" part for good.