The Detroit Tigers are a bad baseball team right now. Sure, they may have more talent on their roster than their 53-67 record suggests, but there is no escaping that .442 win percentage. They are 13 1⁄2 games out of first place in the AL Central, and 8 1⁄2 games behind the second wild card spot in the American League. They are only saved from last place by the lowly Chicago White Sox, who are 7-23 since the All-Star break.
In other words, Detroit’s season is over.
There are still 42 games remaining, though. Fans have debated in our comments and elsewhere about how the Tigers should approach the last quarter of the season: play young players and “tank” for a better draft pick, or continue to field the best roster possible in order to win games? The two are not mutually exclusive — one might argue that the younger players offer a better chance of winning — but the dichotomy of wins and losses have divided the fanbase in half.
First, let’s preface this by saying we know which path the Tigers will take. With several proud veterans on the roster and serious repercussions for faking injuries or other maladies, the Tigers will try to win games.
That doesn’t mean some fans won’t root for losses, though. The worse the team’s record gets, the higher they will select in next year’s MLB draft. The difference between the fifth and 10th overall picks is substantial, and that’s before we consider the financial implications. The top few picks in the draft receive huge bonus pools, most of which can be divided to spend on lower round picks, including toolsy high schoolers with high upside. Getting a better first round pick would improve the Tigers’ entire draft class.
On the other hand, losing isn’t fun. Those that watched the entire series in Texas came away thoroughly unhappy, as the Tigers were thoroughly dismantled in three games by a Texas team still in playoff contention. Watching a win is still much more enjoyable than a loss, no matter the consequences later on. Plus, the MLB draft is still largely a crapshoot; unlike the NBA, there are no sure-fire All-Stars or Hall of Famers available with the top few picks in next year’s MLB draft class.
Which side of the fence do you fall on?
What are you rooting for in the Tigers’ final 42 games?
This poll is closed