Over the offseason we began a regular check-up of the Tigers fanbase. The goal is to monitor fan's feelings towards certain figures in the Tigers organization, such as president and general manager Dave Dombrowksi.
The cases for and against Dombrowski haven't changed, for the most part. He brought us MVPs, Cy Young winners, and All-Stars galore. He brought us four consecutive division championships. He cultured an expectation of postseason baseball in Detroit. And that's all great, except that there's still a Commissioner's-Trophy-shaped hole on our mantle. For some, that's all that really matters
In our February poll, Dombrowski posted a solid 82 percent approval rating after an offseason that included the departures of Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, and the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Gose (among others). Most experts and projection systems have this assembled squad in a close race with the Cleveland Indians, with an edge to the Tigers.
As spring training comes to a close, the Tigers' Opening Day roster is nearly decided. This is what Dombrowski has assembled for us this year:
C: Alex Avila
1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Ian Kinsler
3B: Nick Castellanos
SS: Jose Iglesias
LF: Yoenis Cespedes
CF: Anthony Gose
RF: J.D. Martinez
DH: Victor Martinez
Bench: James McCann, Rajai Davis, Hernan Perez, Andrew Romine
Rotation: David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Shane Greene, Alfredo Simon
Bullpen: Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain, Tom Gorzelanny
Remaining position battles: Bruce Rondon, Angel Nesbitt, Blaine Hardy, Kyle Ryan, Ian Krol
The main difference from years past is a weaker (but still solid) starting rotation, and drastically improved (but still not great) defense. Yes, the lineup is still terrifying to opposing pitchers, and yes, the bullpen is still terrifying to Tigers fans. Is the continued lack of acceptable relief corps worthy of a failing grade, or does the overall quality of the team outweigh it?