It’s normal at this time of year to be bombarded with articles loaded with positivity – a proverbial ‘all is well’ message coming at you from every angle.
Most are meant to give fans hope for the upcoming season, but how can everything be rosy for a team so decimated with problems the previous year?
Holly and Kurt will not share their answers to the following question until today. In doing so, it gives readers the best shot at gaining a wide range of perspectives. Will you get that today? We’ll see.
What feel-good propaganda that’s been published do you actually believe and why?
My work is complete. If you’re a regular reader, you’re familiar with the recent blog that explains this time of year when the Tigers coordinate with the local media to write feel-good articles on their players and management.
Articles that offer redemption for players who were not at their best, reminders of those who had great years and reassurance for those who raised the fans’ eyebrows last year.
I believe everyone I listed in those blogs now has been accounted for within those 3 lists.
So which of these do I believe? Well, I’d like to believe them all. I know that every player wants to be better next year. That everyone wants to win. And I’m almost tempted to say the story about the Avilas catching the big fish is the one I believe because there are actual photographs of it.
But I’m going with the interview with Brad about the key to this team. Health. He believes the Tigers are a truly scary team if they remain healthy. And they really are.
If you look at the big picture for this year, it’s almost the same team as last year’s and still pretty potent. In fact, the recipe – top notch pitching and big bats – has been the go-to standard for most of this decade.
But this decade has also seen the same major roadblock hit this team. The same excuse offered every year by management and players alike when the Tigers have failed at the end of every year. Injuries. Multiple injuries to Miggy, VMart, JV, Castellanos, Iggy, JD, Maybin, Zimmermann, Greene, Norris, Price, Sanchez, Rondon – the list goes on. It appears that pretty much everyone was injured and spent some significant time on the DL save for Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler.
The same rationale that has been used year after year to excuse the team from winning that ring. The same answer that has saved the jobs of many within management and the Front Office.
So if the Tigers can manage to stay healthy for the first time in many years? Yes, they really could be “scary good.”
Many of the stories out there are based on hope. Is Jordan Zimmermann healthy enough to have a bounce-back season? Can Justin Upton reduce his strikeouts and begin the season as hot as the last one ended? Can Mark Lowe give us that lockdown late inning reliever we all hoped we would get last season? All these emphatic questions can be answered with a resounding – “I hope so!”
But there is only one statement that you can put stock in. Brad Ausmus feels that a healthy Tiger team can be very dangerous. And who out there can really disagree with that? The lineup is loaded with big hitters, but routinely is held back by key injuries, usually a gaggle of them, every season. And every season it seems you ask yourself, what if?
What if the team could somehow stay healthy for an entire season? How far could they go? The starting pitching has a chance to be really good this season. The rotation consists of loads of veteran talent and loads of young, emerging talent. It really is a great mix. But if you take Jordan Zimmermann out of that equation and he is unable to give you 200+ innings, then you are forced to head down that Sanchez / Pelfrey road, which has not been a reliable source for consistently good and injury-free starting pitching either.
This team has the potential to be very good. It always has. But it’s a fragile team, and Brad is no different than us when it comes to wondering what could happen if for one season, the injury bug didn’t hit them so hard. It could really be fun, wouldn’t it?
No team or fan base can really expect what we are looking for; injuries are part of the game and are felt by every team out there. But if for one season you can avoid those lengthy absences of key pieces of the lineup and starting pitching, great things can happen in Detroit.