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A mea culpa: The offseason plans turned out great

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Hey, I can admit when I'm wrong.

The Tigers' offseason plans looked bewildering, but they turned out much better than I expected. Actually I'd hazard the guess they turned out better than almost anyone expected -- probably even President/GM Dave Dombrowski himself.

The Tigers hit the halfway mark of the season in first place. They are 8-2 against the AL East, including three of four games taken from the Yankees and two of three from the Red Sox. Austin Jackson is first among American League rookies in hits and runs scored, second in batting average. Phil Coke is a calming presence in the bullpen. Jose Valverde is an All-Star. Max Scherzer toyed with a franchise record for strikeouts in a single game. Johnny Damon loves playing in Detroit and the fans love him back.

Couple that with decisions made in the past coming to fruition. The Tigers had eight players make their major league debut this season. One or two of them may have stumbled, but most of them appear as if they'll continue to contribute past this season. Several of them have the potential to be regulars in years to come: Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Andy Oliver, Robbie Weinhardt -- and yes -- Scott Sizemore.

All that, and the Tigers probably have $40-50 million to spend in the offseason with only the left side of the infield being a pressing problem that needs filling, though no one would turn down adding another frontline pitcher to the staff.

Not every decision worked out, but that's OK.

Thanks in part to a mediocre division and thanks in part to great planning, the Tigers are doing that rare tightrope walk of competing for a division title and rebuilding for the future at exactly the same time.

That is to be highly commended.

I fully acknowledge the danger of picking a random point in sizing things up. I mean, the season hasn't even hit the All-Star Break. As Jimmy Leyland said, there's a hockey season left to play. After that, there's seasons left to come. Some players step back, others step forward. It's quite possible some of the rookie of the year candidates today could be fighting to earn their way back to the big leagues in two years.

But you know what? I don't care. I'm just going to say it: My fellow Tigers fans, the future looks strong.

Take a few minutes to savor that today.