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Detroit Tigers News: 2020 will be another ‘challenging’ year

Tigers GM Al Avila is hoping for improvement, but keeps expectations low.

Detroit Tigers Introduce Ron Gardenhire Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Another week is almost in the books, and with it came a flurry of Detroit Tigers news that was a bit more than one would expect for this time of year. From general manager Al Avila’s remarks about next season to Anthony Fenech’s response, from Lou Whitaker to Justin Verlander, the stories are included in this Friday edition of our links. So let’s just jump right in.

Avila expects another ‘challenging’ year

Al Avila spoke to the press during the annual general manager meetings on Wednesday about his expectations for the 2020 season. The tricky part, according to the GM, is balancing incremental improvements with the “big picture” goals of the franchise.

Avila is loathe to relinquish any of his prospects at this point in the rebuild, which has a significant effect on how the trade market will shape out for the Tigers. As far as free agent acquisitions are concerned, the GM admitted that the team struck out last year, but also noted the volatility of low-cost veteran players.

All in all, Avila paints a picture that looks disappointingly similar to last season. Hopefully, the new hires will help make a difference and move the needle in the right direction next season and for the years to come.

New hires should speak for themselves

Speaking of new hires, Anthony Fenech at the Detroit Free Press called out the Tigers’ front office for engaging in generic rhetoric and buzzwords when announcing the fresh additions to the staff. However, the criticism ends there, as he goes on to note the moves were also “a breath of fresh air” from Avila, and he has high hopes for the likes of sports scientist Dr. Georgia Giblin and Driveline-certified pitching guru Dan Hubbs, along with the others.

At the end of the day, it appears that Fenech just wants the veneer of vernacular used by the team to be more transparent. The Tigers have made some promising moves this week, but it will take patience to see if they pan out.

The story of Lou Whitaker

Lou Whitaker’s hometown newspaper, the Martinsville Bulletin, has published a fantastic two-part piece series on the former Tigers second baseman, telling the story of his life as a ballplayer. In the first half, Sweet Lou gives credit to his baseball peers growing up, without whom he would have never been challenged the way he needed to be. The second part discusses his Hall of Fame candidacy, and he path he followed to get to today. It is a compelling piece of work that every Tigers fan should read.

Justin Verlander wins second Cy Young Award

Justin Verlander has finally won his second Cy Young Award after another dominant season and a World Series appearance with the Houston Astros. Many believe this should be Verlander’s fourth or even fifth trophy, and those many would be right.

After some rather questionable finishes for the award in past years — the Rick Porcello decision in 2016, in particular — Verlander was bestowed the honor against his equally-deserving teammate Gerrit Cole. While the media and fans haggle over the metrics, there is no strong argument against the final decision.

Many of the names and numbers associated with this achievement are astounding. The list of accomplishments seemingly stretches a mile long.

Evan Woodbery at MLive also came up with some interesting figures, putting Verlander in some very elite company.

While it is tough to see the greatest Tigers pitcher of this generation winning awards with another team, fans can still appreciate what the right-handed hurler has accomplished in his Hall of Fame-worthy career.

Base hits

  • 2019 Player Review: Spencer Turnbull should have been the Tigers Rookie of the Year. The process took nearly five years, but the Detroit Tigers’ second round pick in the 2014 finally put things together to produce one of the better rookie seasons in the American League.
  • The Tigers should sign Alex Gordon because he would make the team better. The longtime Royal has parted ways with the division rival.
  • The Tigers should sign Hunter Pence because he would make the team better. The aging outfielder had a resurgent 2019 cut short by injuries, but if he can stay healthy, he may be worth a look.
  • Here is community member andrewholt’s offseason plan. It’s time to begin the build part of the Detroit Tigers’ rebuild!

Around the horn

Mike Napoli is joining the Chicago Cubs’ coaching staff to serve as the club’s quality assurance coach. Drew Pomeranz is an intriguing free agent in a market shallow on relief stars. New Giants manager Gabe Kapler says he didn’t do enough for alleged sexual-assault victim. Why Anthony Fenech voted for the Astros’ Alex Bregman for 2019 American League MVP.

Baseball is awesome