Wednesday, 15 February 2012
2012 Previews: Detroit Tigers
Meh. I mean, they're going to win the division going away, and they're obviously in win-now mode, but they're probably the 6th best team in the AL. I'm curious to see what they'll do at the trade deadline, because I'm sure they're going to need another piece in the rotation behind Justin Verlander if they're going to do anything beyond win the division.
Speaking of whom, I'd expect to see Verlander take a nice step backwards this year (and wouldn't go off the board to draft him in fantasy, fyi), and the same with Doug Fister, if for no other reason that the fact that Miguel Cabrera is going to be playing third base, making up one half of the oldest, most rangeless left sides of the infield in MLB history.
Naturally, the flipside of that is the fact that they're going to mash a brazillion runs with that lineup in that division, so it should be okay. As an aside, they're probably going to get Delmon Young and Brandon Inge a whole bunch of at-bats, and have Austin Jackson striking out at the top of the order infinity times, so who knows?
I uhhh... suppose that at least one of Cabrera and Verlander will be shown the door at the end of their contracts, because I don't really see how the Fielder deal doesn't handcuff the Tigers. Having said that, both players will be past their career peaks at that time, and Mike Illitch kind of surprised us with the 9y/$212MM gift that he gave to the Tigers organization, so we'll see.
Beyond 2 prospects, this club doesn't really have anything going in the farm, which, as we've seen with Alex Anthopoulos and his great big genius plan, you should build the farm system before going out and paying for the great big free agents. The Tigers won't have the spending flexibility 5 years from now, which means that they'll need to get some cheap production. With no prospect depth built up, and the new CBA limiting loopholes of building massive stocks of prospects, I'm seeing 3 years of competing and then 6 years of shit for the Tigers.
I'm not even sure the Tigers are as good as they were last year. They won 6 games more than their Pythagorean record would indicate, so the same team should win 89 games in 2012. I'm not sure that they're any more than a win better right now, to be perfectly honest. Regressions from Alex Avila, Justin Verlander, Jose Valverde and Doug Fister, plus Miguel Cabrera at 3B should takeaway a lot of the additional value that Fielder brings in. I meh at this team.
Projection: 91-71, 1st in the AL Central.