Tigers fans sometimes get a bad rap for being a bit pessimistic, but a long World Series drought would do that to any team. Even now, during the longest stretch of sustained success in franchise history, fans want more. Can the Tigers get that elusive World Series title in 2015? That remains to be seen.
Despite the absence of that final trophy, our fanbase knows a good thing when it sees it. In a poll we ran in late January, Dave Dombrowski received a 76 percent approval rating, compared to just 12 percent -- probably all White Sox fans -- who were not happy with how he was doing.
The case for Dave Dombrowski (76.0%)
Tigers fans have a lot to celebrate because of Dombrowski and his staff. Here are a few of the main reasons why people are so happy.
1. The Tigers have won four consecutive AL Central Division championships
Winning is the easiest way to make a fanbase happy, and the Tigers have done plenty of that during Dombrowski's tenure. The four consecutive division titles help, as do a pair of World Series berths in the past decade. They are one of six franchises to make multiple appearances in the Fall Classic since 2000, and one of six clubs to win four consecutive division titles since divisional play began in 1969.
Or, as Robert Lohman put it in the comments:
I figure anytime the team I am following is playing meaningful games in late August something must be being done right. If they hang a banner (division championship, league championship, world series champion) I’ll count it as a great year.
2. The team is still competitive despite a lot of roster turnover
Take it away, singledigit:
7 of 9 position players (including DH) have changed in just the last couple of years … and the team keeps on winning its Division. This ... without a farm system producing much of anything.
Yes, DD should be held accountable for that farm system. But being a success is making the best of your failures. And DD has been awfully good at that.
Technically, it's more like six of nine -- Victor Martinez was injured but still very much a Tiger -- but this team's contrast from that 2012 Opening Day lineup is substantial. Dombrowski also deserves credit for changing the team's identity on the fly, though it remains to be seen if that identity shift truly worked. The 2015 season will give us a much clearer answer.
3. He brought us Miguel Cabrera
It will go down in the history books as one of the most lopsided deals baseball has ever seen. Miguel Cabrera is a Hall of Fame talent, and the most successful player the Florida Marlins got in return was Andrew Miller, who didn't even realize his true potential until the Boston Red Sox stuck him in their bullpen. That last bit has the benefit of hindsight, but Dombrowski's ability to acquire talent via trade is second to none.
The case against Dave Dombrowski (12.0%)
While Dombrowski has done a lot of good in Detroit, things aren't perfect. There are a few reasons why he could be doing better.
1. The farm system is awful
kstengy seems optimistic about the upcoming season, but the devout follower of Lidstrom is a bit wary of what the future holds.
I worry when we get ranked dead last in the majors for farm systems. I look at it like building a house. You can keep putting shiny new things like a satellite dish or big TV on it to make it cool right now but if you aren’t maintaining and building your foundation along with it you are going to have problems down the road.
While Dombrowski has consistently shown an ability to trade prospects for proven MLB talent, one has to wonder when that well is truly going to dry up. The Tigers traded several players that were at the top of an already thin system in 2014 -- including a pair of top-100 prospects in Willy Adames and Jake Thompson -- and go into 2015 with Derek Hill as the only high-upside player in the organization. A pair of first round picks will help replenish the lower levels in June.
2. The Tigers haven't won a World Series
Probably the biggest complaint that Tigers fans have about Dombrowski's tenure is the lack of a ticker tape parade down Woodward Avenue on an early November morning. The Tigers have won every other meaningful trophy there is to win in the past decade, but the Commissioner's Trophy has eluded Dombrowski and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
Tigerdoc616 was quick to point this out (though seems to be happy with Dombrowski otherwise).
NO World Series Victory!
That is the only thing that could keep anyone from saying DD has NOT done a good job.
3. The Doug Fister trade
A constant gripe over the past year, the trade that sent Doug Fister to Washington was questioned, requestioned, and is still being questioned. While the trade itself may work out in the end if Shane Greene is the pitcher that Robbie Ray was expected to be, the fallout from that deal is still being felt. Would the Tigers have needed to trade for David Price? Would Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly be around? Would the Tigers have needed to trade Rick Porcello? Would we even have Alfredo Simon? There are a lot of questions that can easily be traced back to one ill-fated move, and they won't be answered for another few years.
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Thanks to everyone who commented and voted on our last poll. We will run another one when we get closer to the regular season.