The Tigers enter 2016 once again looking to win the AL Central and claim that elusive World Series championship. This will be the 11th straight year that the team enters the season looking like a contender, and hopefully the 6th year that the team makes the playoff in that stretch.
With such a track record and concerted effort placed into winning, you could call the Tigers and their organization the anti-tankers. In world rampant with teams like the 76ers and the Houston Astros -- PEOPLE DON'T FORGET -- such sustained commitment to competing is a rarity.
Now, competing and trying to compete are two very different things. Just because you decide to not tank doesn't mean your efforts will always pan out. Look at the San Diego Padres, who traded prospects and paid big money to obtain talent, only to have a middling win totals and eventually have to blow it up.
The Tigers have managed to do both. The wizardry of former general manager Dave Dombrowski coupled with a commitment to winning that borders on stubbornness from Ilitch has brought much success. A good GM and an owner hellbent on winning will (almost) always yield results.
Don't get me wrong, the Tigers will eventually get to the end of this run. Who knows what happens when the team is no longer led by Mike Ilitch. No one competes forever (except for the godforsaken Cardinals), and you simply can't buy your way out of age. But the Tigers have propped the window open for much longer than many thought possible.
While Dombrowski is no longer with the team, the most important cog remains. I feel confident in saying that Ilitch has been more committed to this team than any owner in sports. Money is no object. A team with no bullpen, a failing starting rotation, and a gaping chasm in left field was turned back into an American League favorite in one simple month. All it took was $272 million dollars.
So cherish this year, and any beyond 2016 that the Tigers continue to compete. And don't forget to send a thank you to one of the greatest owners in sports. Without him, most of our fond memories for the Tigers may not exist.
The Tigers illustrated their expanded international scouting with the signing of Cuban Leonardo Laffita out of the Mexican league and Willy Paredes from the Domican Republic. Reliever Montreal Robertson stays flexible in training AND mentality. Excellent headline, Freep. And check out Emily's profile of Michael Gerber, who is showing promise with the Whitecaps.
Sites rank things because OFFSEASON
CBS ranks all of the positions because they don't have anything better to do. I also have nothing better to do so I read them all. You can find the rankings at the top of the page, but check out a prominently ranked JD Martinez and Miguel Cabrera and a very not ranked Cameron MayGose and James McCann.
Renaming things for awesome people
Dodgers stadium now resides on Vin Scully Avenue. Patrick pushes to rename streets around Comerica Park to honor Whitaker and Trammel. Over the Monster echoes that sentiment with David Ortiz. I also would like to advocate for naming the tread from the dugout to the third base box as Lamont's Way. Still the funniest heckle I've ever heard was a White Sox fan telling Gene to stop wearing out their infield.
Where I continue to give FanGraphs free advertisement
Because it's good stuff. Dave Cameron highlights what appears to be a front office mistake by Arizona in acquiring Jean Segura. And Tony Blengino provides two reasons that the Tigers could compete in the AL Central. Feel free to email me if you would like the other 238 reasons.