The popular narrative surrounding this current iteration of the Tigers has been, "The window closing." It's an understandable assumption by the masses. And yes, even I've had some fun with the idea. An aging core that includes three massive longterm contracts lends itself to a team that should only have a couple years left for competition.
But with the re-signing of J.D. Martinez and the opt out clause of Justin Upton, the Tigers are not as hamstrung as many make them out to be. Outside of Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Jordan Zimmermann, most if not all of their large contracts could be off the books by 2018. Grant Brisbee even has the Tigers as a potential suitor for Bryce Harper. That's probably the most extreme case, but it illustrates the perceived salary flexibility.
The Tigers should have some spending freedom in the future. That makes the deciding factors two-fold. The first is whether Verlander, Cabrera and now Zimmermann can continue to produce. Verlander seems to be figuring out how to pitch without his 100 mph velocity, and David Ortiz just had the greatest season for a 40 year old so why not Miggy? Right, guys ... right?
Maybe I'm being optimistic, but if that core stays healthy and productive, the Tigers could conceivably replace outgoing players with comparable talent. Which leads us to the other important factor. Will the team continue to spend? Much of the current window has been sustained by the nearly unlimited Ilitch coffers, which have shelled out contract after contract. If Tigers replace their outgoing players with similar spending, they will keep their talent high.
So, yes,, this is an bullish look at the fate of the franchise. But it should at least illustrate that the future is not necessarily all doom, gloom, or that of the Phillies. With a little old age production and continued spending, the team could have this window wide open for years to come.
Delmon Young, not a great guy
Fans always have a natural affinity for their players. That's how guys like A.J. Pierzynski have fans. Delmon Young supplied some big hits for this franchise, and I appreciate that, but it is now VERY clear (it was clear before) that Delmon Young is a terrible person.
General Tiger good feelings heading into the season
How will the latest Asian invasion fare?
August Fagerstorm takes a stab at projecting how effectively Byung-ho Park, Hyun-soo Kim, and Kenta Maeda will make the transition to the MLB.
Let's not have this happen again
The MLB is finally moving on changing the rules on takeout slides. Everyone loves players that play hard, but slides like this need to be outlawed. This is a good first step.