The Detroit Tigers’ 2020 coronavirus-shortened season came to a close on Sunday in a fitting loss to rookie Brady Singer and the Kansas City Royals. The team ended the year — a year that included a nine-game losing streak — with a disappointing but not unexpected 23-35 record, leaving two games unplayed due to COVID-19.
While 16 other teams get started with their playoff aspirations, the Motor City Kitties and their fans sit on the outside looking in as baseball seeks its 2020 World Series champion. Like every season since 2016 for those faithful to the Olde English D, MLB playoffs are a time to look back on what went wrong and look ahead to better days in the future.
Ex-Tigers in the playoffs
While the Tigers return to Detroit to formulate their plans for next season, there is a cohort of former players who came through the D prior who will be included in meaningful games this October. The MLive took a look at the remaining ex-Tigers who will be playing next month, with plenty of familiar names and at least one, “Oh, that guy,” mentions.
The list consisted of Joakim Soria, Mike Fiers, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Robbie Ray, Willy Adames, Alex Avila, Caleb Thielbar, James McCann, Avisail Garcia, Corey Knebel, Matt Joyce, Shane Green, Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, Kyle Ryan, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Castellanos, Curt Casali and Trevor Rosenthal. Click on the article link to get detailed information about each player.
Grading the 2020 Tigers
The Detroit Free Press took a stab at grading the Tigers’ performance this summer with mostly harsh realities about yet another underwhelming season from the “rebuilding” franchise. Overall, the publication gave the Tigers a C-minus grade and realistically it easily could have been worse. Let us begin with offense.
The 2019 Tigers offense was bad. Really bad. Second-to-last in home runs and first in strikeouts, to be specific.
The final grade in the hitting department was a C-plus, which was buoyed by an early power surge ultimately cut off by injuries to C.J. Cron, JaCoby Jones and Jonathan Schoop. The final grade on pitching was a D-minus overall, with only Spencer Turnbull turning in an appreciable performance this summer.
On defense, the team gets a C, mostly on the back of Niko Goodrum’s sparkling positive-6 defensive runs saved at shortstop and second base, along with Jones, Victor Reyes and Daz Cameron in the outfield. The youngsters struggled a bit on the infield, but there was also a lot of positional shuffling going on as well.
The coaching staff got a B-minus, which despite the overall results is hard to argue with given the complexities and difficulties in dealing with playing during a pandemic. While there were some questionable calls on the field, the coaching staff did a commendable job keeping the team mostly clean of COVID-19.
Biggest offseason questions
So enough about this season: What do we have to look forward to? Cody Stavenhagen at The Athletic tackles the biggest questions for the 2020 offseason in his latest offering. The main questions are pretty much what one would expect.
Starting at the top, who will be the next manager? And what about the rest of the coaching staff? Well, there is a lot uncertainty right now when it comes to the coaching ranks, and unless Lloyd McClendon is brought back as a full-time manager, it is most likely that the next skipper will bring in his own crew. But much is still yet to be seen.
The question of where the prospects go is an interesting one, as there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future of minor league ball. Then factor in the wacky year it was and how difficult it is to extrapolate too much from the results, and that leaves the question perfectly unanswered.
Finally, who do the Tigers bring back and who do they seek in free agency? Schoop, Romine and Cron (health permitting) are all good bets for a second stint in Motown. As far as free agents — that might be the most nebulous question of them all.
Around the horn
San Diego Padres’ Mike Clevinger is unlikely to pitch in the Wild Card round. The No. 1 seed Tampa Bay Rays still don’t get the respect they deserve. Have we seen the beginning of the end of independent leagues? Cutting extra innings down to its extreme endpoint: Sudden Death Baseball. For the first time ever, eight postseason games will be played in one day. Minnesota Twins’ torture: Breaking down their record MLB playoffs losing streak. 2020 MLB bracket predictions: CBS Sports staff picks for every postseason series.