By:  Kurt Snyder

I would like to put a capper on the week’s analysis of the Kansas City Royals. It’s mainly because I am tired of talking about them and of course, it’s the end of the week.

We have drawn all the comparisons, discussed KC’s philosophy and aggressive approach to the game and of course the Tigers and whatever their approach is and where it needs to be in the future.

So we know the plan right? We know the needs. Pitching and outfield help. But I would like the Tigers to narrow their focus of team improvement to one area and one area only.

The Tigers will indeed be a better team in 2016 just by filling their pitching needs, both in the rotation and the pen. As far as the outfield goes, if they just sign Davis and run him out to left for another year, it will buy us time.

Rajai holds underrated value to this team. It’s really quite funny how at the end of a long season, people forget how important his role was for the Tigers. He jump started the offense on many occasions with his speed and I would have no problem beginning the season with him in left, even if it’s in a platoon with Tyler Collins.

Any real upgrade in left can wait. There isn’t going to be any big bopper like Cespedes brought in to fill the void anymore. That’s just no longer in the cards. It’s no longer in the bank account. Almost every dime should go towards arms and a JD Martinez extension.

If the Tigers acquire solid pitchers who fit, keep them in games and win, there is enough offense to carry them.

I would be much more comfortable at the trade deadline if the Tigers felt they could put themselves in a position for a playoff spot by adding an outfield bat, with no additional pitching required. It’s a tall order for sure, but aren’t we due for things to fall in place for a change?

After he smartly fills two (at least) critical needs in the starting rotation, Avila must concentrate on a different approach, at least for the Tigers, to filling the bullpen holes, which appears to be his intent.

Studying the success of other potent bullpens has revealed an approach that consists of taking pitchers who had been starters with good arms and putting them in late inning bullpen roles where they can excel more than they did as starters.

There are so many starters out there who have the ability to throw 95 mph fastballs but can’t throw them deep into games. There are starters out there who have good enough stuff to fool hitters the first time through the lineup, but their success rate thereafter hits the skids. So it’s going to be interesting what we end up with and how successful we will be in pumping some energy into that pen.

So I can’t yell at Al just yet. I intend to give him a shot at figuring this out. He is considering a different and maybe less expensive approach to improving the pen because he must realize that the pieces we choose for the rotation will be far from inexpensive.

It’s just a shame that our pitching situation has become so dire; because if this team was in better shape on the mound, a versatile but expensive Ben Zobrist would be a tremendous acquisition. He would allow the Tigers to unload Castellanos for some more pitching!

It’s quite the vicious circle isn’t it?


  1. Tell me how Anibel Sanchez is going to do. He is a complete unknown. Comeback player of the year and the tigers have a chance. Mediocre, injury filled season and they continue as bottom dwellers, even with an assumed better bullpen, complete season with Justin Verlander leading the charge.


  2. Kurt, agree with your premise, but it is a tough sell this time of year. Biggest hurdle is to get a SP to buy into becoming a reliever. Winter and spring is all about having a good and successful year as a SP not failure and resigned to the pen. Need to get our new PC to talk to some FA who pitched for him (and all pitching targets) to promote opportunities in Detroit.


  3. I’m glad you trust Al Avila. I don’t. Short of dumping Brad, his staff, and the new Dubee, I would have to see “better than Dombrowski” negotiation, trade & decision making skills. No signs of that yet. Get a JD deal done. 2016 is a throw away. Proof of this will be the fact that Gene Lamonte is still allowed to wear a jersey and occupy space.


  4. Our problems go further than finding a few pitchers. JV and Miggy will be 33 and Victor 38 next year. All are injury prone and not what they were 3-4 years ago. We can’t build a championship team with a just couple strategic moves before these guys are played-out. It’s going to take a big shakeup and some controversial moves. Meanwhile we can’t even replace an ineffective manager.


  5. The Tigers were 10th in runs scored in the AL this past season, 2/3 of games had Cespedes in the lineup. Remember all those games scoring 2 runs or less? BTW, Davis OBA after the AS break was .270, and he was 4/9 stealing. Great team BA and OBP, but they don’t push ’em around. No, Cespedes isn’t coming back, but no the offense isn’t alright.


    • Good analysis Nimzovich, improving the runs scored is never mentioned.A few more players to drive in runs sure would help.


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