For a few months I've been pretty down on the Tigers front office as well as on the field management. I was very disappointed in so many things that happened this year. I really think things should have been done differently.
I don't think this is 20/20 hind sight, but things that I felt were done wrong throughout the year as they happened. So, here's my list. I'd like to hear how others feel or think about these points too.
1. Spencer Torkelson really didn't have a great spring, and he didn't show the confidence at AAA to merit an immediate call-up. I don't think he should have started the season in Detroit, let alone have been allowed to struggle for as long as he did. I think Miguel Cabrera and Harold Castro should have been named the first basemen until Tork was deemed ready to come on under a head of steam.
2. We had so many arm failures from 2021 something should have been apparent that the way the pitchers were being conditioned and, or used was a problem. Do you remember Boyd and Turnbull going down with injuries? The starters hadn't been built up enough and it seemed pretty obvious Mize, Skubal, Manning, and others could be hurt if not carefully watched and managed. Was 2022 an essential break-out year or really should it have been used as a finishing year to better prepare for our launch in 2023 as a more competitive club? I think Hinch and Avila were too anxious and this led to the slew of injuries.
3. Harold Castro wasn't valued enough. Who has the second most hits on the team? Who has the leading BA? Who has just the 4th most at bats? He is an outstanding contact hitter, yet he's rarely been used in the third hitting position. Instead of giving Jeimer Candelario time off to maybe get his head on straight and regroup to hit, he was given start after start over Castro.
4. Why are so many of Detroit's hitters having such a bad season? It is hard to fathom that nearly everyone on the team is hitting at a subpar level. What did Hinch do to change things up to wake up the offense? What did his hitting coach do? I am old school and remember how Sparky Anderson, Billy Martin, and Mayo Smith did things and they tried things to make the offense better. Don't remember the Mickey Stanley experiment in the World Series? Taking some risks to make the team's offense should have been done. Letting it fall to the worst in baseball is simply embarrassing. Should the fences been pulled in? Maybe, maybe not, but Avila and Hinch should have done something in my opinion.
5. Why did Austin Meadows totally collapse this year? Did we give him a pre-trade physical? What happened? This is a very strange situation. I don't understand how much he was injured and lost for the year. His mental exhaustion is somewhat understandable based on how much he dealt with this year, but is odd that Eduardo Rodriguez also was lost in the same year based on what he personally was dealing with. Did these events just happen out of circumstances beyond anyone's control, or did the Tigers fail to analyze or assist with something when it was needed? There are so many odd coincidences that somehow it looks like a pattern or red flag that warrants further analysis.
6. Not only were the BAs terrible this year but the slugging percentages and the OBAs. This was a monumental down fall or off the cliff type of year. Why? It just doesn't seem normal and the manager should have been doing something about it. The team chemistry, confidence, outlook, or attitude had to play a part. In my opinion, there was something that was really fouled up that we aren't being told.
7. Tucker Barnhardt was signed to be the everyday catcher and expected to handle the pitchers well. I didn't think he'd be an All-Star hitter, but his performance is below underwhelming. What happened? Isn't a $10M player supposed to be at least a respectable hitter? Instead of rewarding Haase or Garneau or Rogers and, or getting a young catcher to develop we traded for and signed a player that seems washed up. Is Barnhardt another case in point as to how Rodriguez, Meadows, and perhaps Torkelson played this year?
8. Didn't we all know that Miguel Cabrera needed to be handled with kid gloves? Didn't we know that playing him more in the field would likely lead to his demise? Why did Hinch put Cabrera on the field so much? Couldn't he motivate Cabrera to lead in other ways, stay more focused in other ways, and to stay healthier?
I won't go on, but these are several of the concerns I had and feel really haven't been fully addressed in public. What do you think?