One of the main reasons the Detroit Tigers have struggled over the last couple seasons is a severe lack of depth. Injuries to players like Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, and others have hampered the Tigers’ playoff chances. With little depth in the farm system behind those stars, the drop-off in production has been staggering. Unfortunately, the subpar farm system and bloated payroll have left the Tigers in an unenviable position. They have spent most of the offseason looking to cut payroll, and are hesitant to add more salary heading into 2017.
However, that is not the only direction they can take. Mike Bates of MLB Daily Dish argued that the Tigers should push their chips in once again, and make one last push at owner Mike Ilitch’s coveted World Series title. Justin Verlander isn’t getting any younger, after all, and the AL Central is projected to be a one-horse race. If the Tigers can outperform their projections -- FanGraphs has them at 82-80 and other publications won’t be far off — they could sneak into the playoff hunt.
There isn’t a clear-cut answer here. This offseason’s free agent class was as thin as we’ve ever seen, and the market is now so thin we’re talking about Michael Bourn as a potential signee. Reader jaypolger identified a few up-and-comers as trade targets, but I’m not as optimistic as him about their availability.
Maybe we could have used this guy...
Before anyone mentions Cameron Maybin and “SHOULD OF KEPT” in the same sentence, check out Tony Blengino’s analysis of AL center fielders and their Statcast measurables from 2016. Hell, the table alone tells enough of the story (note: red and yellow are good, black is bad).
We’ll have more on this later (spoiler!) but Maybin was probably a regression candidate in 2017. The other center field options are also pretty bleak, though. We’ll see if that $9 million was really worth saving in the end.
Hall of Fame voters might actually be getting better
Our very own Kurt Mensching advocated for Barry Bonds’ and Roger Clemens’ Hall of Fame chances in his Detroit News column this week. While most saber-slanted writers cite their stats, Kurt focused on their historical contributions.
Over the years my own opinion on the Hall has admittedly changed from big hall to small hall to right back to where it started, a hall … of fame.
The Hall is a museum where we collect the accrued history of the sport. This player did some pretty incredible things in his era. And that one was absolutely incredible in his.
Meanwhile, both Bonds and Clemens have gotten much higher vote totals than in years past, making induction more plausible than it seemed a year or two ago. Neither will get in this year, but they’re on the doorstep.
For your free time
SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee thinks Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling aren’t getting the Hall of Fame love they should. WWE wrestler John Cena comes from a baseball family. Royals fans are cautiously optimistic about the Danny Duffy extension. Lookout Landing reminisces about Mallex Smith, who was a Mariner for an hour. I command you to read: pitcher-batter matchups might actually mean something.