By: Kurt Snyder
For fans of teams not in the playoffs, you spend October studying the teams who have made it. And over these past couple of weeks we’ve had the opportunity to analyze two starving franchises that have put it all together.
Where do the Tigers fall short of what both the Cubs and Indians have? Keep that in the back of your minds as you read through my 20 October Thoughts.
1. Youth and athleticism reigns supreme across the board in the Cubs infield. This is a group that will not change for a while. GMs across the league must be extremely envious.
2. As the Tiger organization contemplates their changes, they must be really careful what “glue” they give up. If they want to still be competitive in their division, guys like Maybin and Kinsler must survive this portion of the transition.
3. It’s a shame the Tigers can’t shed their fat by dumping their dead weight. But you must have takers and unfortunately, it will be pretty difficult to dump Sanchez and Pelfrey without simply eating their money, which would be hard to take.
4. After seeing what Justin Upton did to finish the last month of the season at the plate, it makes you curious about what could happen next year with a full season in a new city and new league under his belt. I think the Tigers will have little choice but to find out.
5. If the Tigers did try to trade Upton during the 2016 season, I wonder how the whole process would have been received in Detroit if they would have been successful.
6. When the Tigers consider changes that meet the new demands of the franchise, do they dare mess with the infield yet? I don’t.
7. Has anyone been listening to John Smoltz during the World Series broadcast? He is nothing short of terrific. And he took the words right out of my mouth in regards to the two teams still standing. Regardless of who wins, both teams are in great shape going forward, something the Tigers strive to say about themselves someday.
8. Could I stomach the loss of JD Martinez, should it become a reality? Not easily, but he holds a spot on the field we need to improve both defensively and athletically.
9. Could I stomach the loss of Justin Upton, should it become a reality? Maybe, considering he holds a spot on the field we need to improve both defensively and athletically.
10. Blown saves just don’t enter the vocabulary in the World Series do they? At least not this year.
11. As you contemplate whether Justin Verlander could be someone the Tigers could move for young talent, and you take all the emotions out of it, how could he help us the most in the next 2 seasons that look to be years in transition?
12. Speaking of Verlander. Never, ever question him again, ever! Only decent run support cost him a 20 win season. (Carryover from September)
13. No more auditioning for Bruce Rondon. It’s time.
14. Victor Martinez, as great of a leader as he has been, and as great of a hitter that he is, the Tigers can no longer afford for him to hamstring this team. Something creative has to be done to move him. This is a job for Dave Dombrowski …ironically enough.
15. Not earning a Wild Card spot always hurts when year after year, Wild Card teams often advance at least to the ALCS. But as bad as we wanted it, who felt good about the Tigers doing much with the opportunity? Could the Tigers truly have competed with the likes of the Cubs or the Indians? Not a chance!
16. Given the challenges ahead, I would give KRod a thank you hug and send him on his way, whether it’s prior to the season or as a trade piece during. The Tigers must search for a dominant presence in that pen. Dominant.
17. In the Tigers search for more young talent, let’s dump some while we are at it. Or are they hamstrung by Stephen Moya until he shows he is ready to be a major leaguer?
18. David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria really made the Tigers better. Maybe even more now that they are gone. (Carry over from August AND September)
19. When the Tigers acquired Jose Iglesias, I thought he was one of the most athletically gifted middle infielders in the league. And he is. But the Cubs Javier Baez … he’s an unbelievable talent. Just wow.
20. The problem with the Tigers is that they are indeed “younger and leaner” at one very important position. Manager.