After trading the majority of their good players (see more on them below) the Detroit Tigers were clearly in tank mode. But boy, are they doing an incredible job.
The internet was chock full of hilarious stats about the Tigers’ dismal September. Jayson Stark pointed out that the Tigers are 4 - 22 with a 7.02 ERA since the Justin Verlander trade which would be highest September ERA ever and the second worst win percentage. Considering Verlander already has five wins with Houston, that’s not great!
The futility hearkens back to the 1996 Tigers team that went 4-23 in September. It’s not a comparison that Brad Ausmus, who played on the ‘96 team, enjoys, but it’s the best thing for the organization as a whole.
Tanking is an inherently odd concept. It’s not like the team is trying to lose, and fans usually don’t want to root against their team. But that No. 1 pick is mighty appealing. If the Tigers are going to be bad, they might as well sell out.
Objects in mirror are sadder than the appear
While the remaining Tigers are setting records for struggling, the players that were traded continue to carry their new teams.
The Angels were just eliminated from the playoffs, but Justin Upton closed out a very impressive 2017, ranking in the top 10 of many AL offensive categories.
Justin Verlander has been unhittable in Houston, and has the Astros well positioned to make a deep run in October.
And then there is J.D. Martinez, who may go down as having one of the greatest post-trade deadline contributions in history. He’s the hottest hitter in the league, and after his grand slam two nights ago, has 29 home runs and 65 RBIs in two months!
Postseason baseball without the Tigers is always a drag, but at least we have three contenders with former players on their rosters. Hopefully someone gets a ring.
Next AL Central Championship idea:
Who will oversee next year’s tank?
With Ausmus as a lame duck manager, options for his replacement continue to be thrown around. The latest is Phil Nevin. The former Tigers minor league manager has strong ties to Al Avila and represents a very real possibility for the job.
Around the Horn
Christian Stewart and Gregory Soto win Tigers minor league player of the year awards. ... Jordan Zimmermann is completely at peace with how bad he was this year, so good for him! ... There’s no obvious choice for the NL MVP, so let the debate begin. ... Ervin Santa will be the Minnesota Twins wild-card game starter. ... Korean bat flips stay undefeated.