Positives and Negatives With The Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers finished off a disappointing 66-96 season on Wednesday night with a 5-4 loss to the playoff-bound Seattle Mariners.
It was a failure of a season. Especially considering the higher expectations coming into the year after last year's surprising 77-85 campaign.
Now that the long regular season is over, it's time to review the positives and negatives with this roster and what's next heading into an uncertain offseason.
There aren't a lot of positives with this team. But they have figured out who their starting centerfielder is for the next few years. And his name is Riley Greene (pictured). And he's either going to bat leadoff or second for the foreseeable future.
And if Javier Baez plays a whole season like he did in September, they'll have something really good offensively.
The bullpen was pretty good for the most part, they got lots of on-field action with all the pitching changes that A.J. Hinch made this season.
And Miguel Cabrera getting his 3,000th career hit back in April was the highlight of the year.
There's a lot to unwrap here. But injuries are number 1. Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Austin Meadows, Kyle Funkhouser, just to name a few. Some of that you can't control.
Number 2 is a terrible offense. The Tigers were shut out more than 20 times this season. And Jeimer Candelario, Jonathan Schoop, Tucker Barnhart. and Spencer Torkelson were terrible at the plate.
Number 3 is a lack of consistent starting pitching. This is largely due to injuries. There were without four of their five starters for big chunks of the season. I'm talking about Eduardo Rodriguez, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Casey Mize. That has to change next season. Skubal and Mize will not start next season on the active roster. That is a major problem.
Number 4 is the complete mismanagement of the pitching staff by manager A.J Hinch. Having a position player like Kody Clemens get seven appearances and utilityman Harold Castro get four appearances on the mound is unconscionable and a fireable offense, IMO. Hinch's "loyalty" to analytics is hurting this franchise. He just believes that if you throw a starting pitcher more than six innings, their arms are going to fall off. This is just maddening, and I (and others) believe it has actually contributed to the pitching injuries this season.
And number 5, after an excellent first half, Miguel Cabrera's bat really cooled off. He ended up at .254 after hitting .308 through early July. His guaranteed salary of $32 million next season is a major problem.
Oh yeah, they need a new closer too. Gregory Soto isn't consistent enough. Doesn't throw strikes consistently.
New Director of Baseball Operations Scott Harris has a lot to figure out before they head to spring training next February. They have only two free agents (Daniel Norris and Tucker Barnhart), but lots of arbitration-eligible players. Which ones do you bring back? Are Jeimer Candelario and Jose Cisnero back? Will Jonathan Schoop and Andrew Chafin exercise their player options and return? Wait and see.
And what about manager A.J. Hinch? He is under contract for next season. But after that? He has spoken about his affinity for the city of Houston. Does Hinch want to be here long-term? I'm not so sure. What if Houston manager Dusty Baker retires after this season? Does Hinch try to finagle his way out of Detroit and head back to Texas?
What do you guys think? Let us know!!