Despite a mammoth payroll and a plethora of veteran talent, the Detroit Tigers were shut out of the post season in 2016. General Manager Al Avila, citing changes were needed, quickly traded outfielder Cameron Maybin, along with his $9 million contract option. Roster moves ceased after that initial deal, leaving this team with a veteran group who have the potential for a great year, or could be traded away piece by piece throughout the 2017 season. Detroit’s rotation is strong starting with last year’s AL Cy Young runner up Justin Verlander, followed by Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer. Jordan Zimmerman and lefties Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd should finish up the starting pitchers, however there are some issues. Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez are still on the roster with a combined $24.8 million owed in 2017, yet both are showing a decline in output. The Tiger’s bullpen will need to elevate production in the middle innings this season. At the back-end, Francisco Rodriguez was given a $6 million option for this year and will remain their go-to closer, joined by Shane Green, Bruce Rondon and Justin Wilson.
The Tigers’ tandem in the middle infield was the source of trade talk this offseason, yet second-baseman Ian Kinsler and shortstop Jose Iglesias are still on the roster at the start of spring training. Third baseman Nick Castellanos had an exceptional 2016 season, as should remain a solid mid-lineup hitter for the ball club. Miguel Cabrera, another veteran with a hefty salary will assume his spot at first, as his age and price tag are a tough sell. Detroit’s outfield was the spot that fans thought would change the most during the offseason, yet will remain relatively the same. Only center field will be occupied by a newcomer, which after trading away Maybin, appears to be a battle between Anthony Gose and young prospect JaCoby Jones. Justin Upton was a mixed bag last season in left field, and this team is banking on a bounce back year from him in 2017. Right field will be manned by J.D. Martinez, despite his name being mentioned with tons of trade talk, as well.
The AL Central should be interesting this season, with two teams in full-on rebuild mode, and the Cleveland Indians stacked with talent once again. The Tigers could certainly contend, depending on the health of their veterans, and the potential moves that could occur along the way. Fans should be sure to grab their Detroit Tigers tickets and come out to support these guys this summer, it should be an exciting season!
The Detroit Tigers are a baseball team with four World Series and 11 American League Pennants. Not too bad. Those totals rank as the fifth most Fall Classics and have won the ninth most. These are numbers to be proud of.
Of course, so is its collection of Hall of Fame players wearing Tigers baseball caps. Perhaps the most famous of these are Ty Cobb and Hank Greenburg. Cobb may have been the first superstar in the sport. He played for the Tigers for 22 seasons and ended his career with the highest career batting average ever at .366, along with 12 batting titles, an MVP season, and 54 steals of home plate. The Detroit Tigers went to the World Series three times while he played, losing each time.
Hank Greenburg was the next star for the franchise. Greenburg was one of the first great Jewish baseball players, for which he fought prejudice throughout his career. He played for the Tigers in spurts. It so happened that during those spurts the Tigers played in four World Series, winning two (Detroit’s first two). He also managed to hit .313 for his career and bash 331 homeruns. The fact that he only appeared in five All Star games is a travesty, though at least he won two AL MVPs. If he had not served in the military in World War II, he would have put up even gaudier numbers.
Fans are eagerly waiting for the chance to celebrate the next great Detroit Tiger to enter the Hall. Cecil Fielder is a fan favorite, but he is a longshot because his impressive home run total (319) is coupled with a suspect .255 batting average. Perhaps the fans will have to wait until this next batch of stars, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, to retire. Cecil’s son, Prince, may even make his father proud and end his career with a Hall of Fame worthy performance.