As the Detroit Tigers head into their offseason, playoff baseball takes over the agenda. Even though the team we followed is now at home watching the games on television just like the rest of us, there are still news stories worth keeping an eye on. But first, let us pay our respects for the debacle that was the 2019 season.
RIP 2019 Tigers
Cody Stavenhagen published this obituary for the 2019 Detroit Tigers for The Athletic, and does a great job summarizing both the frustration the team experienced and the grind they had to endure with a roster of mostly under replacement-level players.
“We suuuuck,” [Miguel] Cabrera said.
Whether it was injuries or incompetence, the Tigers played with a cloud over their head all season, from the daily mental lapses to embarrassing plays such as Brandon Dixon and Niko Goodrum’s misplay that resulted in the ball bouncing over the wall for a home run.
But the year was not all gloom and doom. Matthew Boyd got off to a sizzling start en route to a breakout season on the mound, though he did stumble a bit in the second half. Spencer Turnbull also turned in a remarkable rookie campaign. But all things considered — especially with the records of futility the Tigers either matched or set — it was a brutal year that can now mercifully be put to rest.
Management plays musical chairs
It had been reported previously that Ron Gardenhire’s decision to return as the manager of the Tigers depended upon the fate of his coaching staff. It appears that he got his way, as the entire coaching staff — minus Steve Liddle, who is retiring — will be back in the dugout next year, except some will assume different roles.
The musical chair dance is as follows.
- Lloyd McClendon is moving from hitting to bench coach
- Joe Vavra is taking McClendon’s spot as hitting coach
- Dave Clark and Ramon Santiago are switching sides of the diamond, with the former moving to first and the latter to third
Whether the changes will have an appreciable effect on outcomes or this is simply rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic, it is clear that the status quo will be in place next year as the franchise continues to navigate the rebuilding process.
The axe falls on the chopping block
The end of the regular season is also a time for teams to begin the process of preparation for the next year, which often begins at the top of the hierarchy. The firing of Red Sox president of operations Dave Dombrowski a few weeks ago was the first domino to fall, and has now been followed up by the parting of ways of a few teams and their coaching staff.
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was the biggest name to receive his walking papers parting ways with the Chicago Cubs, a team he helped reach the promised land back in 2016. Another manager who got the axe is a familiar name to Tigers fans, Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus. Only one year into his tenure out west, he was fired on Tuesday presumably to make room for freshly-available Joe Maddon to take the helm. Arizona Diamondbacks have also “parted ways” with their pitching coach Mike Butcher, who had held the job for the past four seasons.
Turnbull vs. MLB rookies
Spencer Turnbull may have stumbled as the season wore on, but he still manage to accrue the seventh-best WAR value among all rookies in 2019. Not too shabby for the Red Bull.
2019 rookies, by fWAR:— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) September 30, 2019
1. Pete Alonso, 4.8
2. Mike Soroka, 4.0
3. Yordan Alvarez, 3.8
4. Fernando Tatis Jr., 3.6
T-5. Tommy Edman/Bryan Reynolds, 3.2
6. John Means, 3.0
7. Spencer Turnbull, 2.9
8. Brandon Lowe, 2.6
9. Victor Robles, 2.5
T-10. Biggio/Newman/Paddack, 2.4
- “Maybe in 10 years we will look back on 2019 Tigers and laugh”: Chris McCosky of The Detroit News gives his take on the 2019 season.
- Miguel Cabrera, even on one leg, did all he could for the Tigers this year: A somber look back at the toll injuries have taken on Cabrera and his failing body.
- Tony Paul, also with The Detroit News, takes a look at former Tigers players who are playing October baseball. The list is nothing short of a who’s-who of the Tigers past.
- The Tigers are looking to bolster their analytics department... again? Hopefully this is a sign that the front office is looking to modernize.
- Miguel Cabrera had the seventh-most home runs of the 2010 decade, cranking 267 dingers. Nelson Cruz led all players with 346 round-trippers.
MLB final numbers
Final numbers for the 2019 regular season— Jason Catania (@JayCat11) September 30, 2019
1) 42,823 Ks vs. 42,040 hits
Second straight year - and second season ever - with more Ks than hits across the sport. The K/9 per team per game rose to 8.81.
2) 6,776 HR
That's 671 more homers than the previous mark of 6,105 from 2017.
Around the horn
Verlander’s twin milestones cap off a year of record strikeouts. Prospect Dispatch: Cuban right-hander Norge Carlos Vera. What drove the split between Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein? When is the ideal time to start your ace? Tanking by MLB teams isn’t a strategy, it’s fan abuse. Baseball had its worst attendance numbers in 16 years. MLB on FOX and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball viewership is up.