Holly Bio PicBy:  Holly Horning

We’ve been hearing for 3 years now that the World Series window of opportunity has been closing. And with each of those years, that window has inched further down towards the sill.

We’ve finally hit the point where almost everyone within the sport has realized it’s pretty much do or die for the Tigers this year. Because, come 2018, the stars will be yet another year older with 4 of the best-performing players hitting age 35 and beyond.

Yes, payroll starts to come down next year but it then creates a raft of problems and uncertainties. Positions that will open up with no known proven successors.

Ian Kinsler will likely be gone unless the Tigers want to pay one of their oldest players $10 million. JD will undoubtedly leave us for greener (the monetary stuff) pastures and KRod will be missing from the 9th inning.

So as the vision of that infamous scene of the hourglass timer in The Wizard of Oz is down to the last grains of sand, could there still be hope for this year?

If we exclude the unknown factors such as injury, in a nutshell, yes. Because I, along with other fans, want desperately to believe in happy endings. Especially when there are 3 very deserving Tigers who really should have those rings. One being the recently-passed owner and the other 2 being the maestro on the mound and a slam-dunk Hall of Famer.

There have been stories like the Amazin’ Mets and the 2013 Boston Red Sox. The latter a group of dysfunctional players with the even bigger mess of management who finished dead last with 93 losses in 2012. One year later, they won 97 games and the World Series.

And the reason for one of baseball’s biggest turnarounds? The team said they were inspired to do it for the City of Boston who had suffered the horrendous carnage known as the Boston Bombing.

Could the Tigers do the same and come together to win this year in memory of Mr. I? I’d like to hope so.

Could this team find even greater motivation and play with even more intensity and purpose knowing that this is probably the last best chance they have? Could JV and Miggy effectively rally the troops because they understand this really is their last chance at getting that ring with the “D” on it? I’d really like to think so.

Could the entire team realize that they have to do everything within their power, and then some, to stay in contention the entire year? That not doing so will trigger the move by ownership to start selling off a number of players in July? We better hope so.

We had also better hope that both Ausmus and Avila aren’t put into the position of feeling obligated or even pushed into keeping Pelfrey and Sanchez in the starting rotation due to their significant salaries. There’s still a minimum of $30 million due on their contracts. Not using players with big salaries as intended often exposes the bad decisions and highlights the money wasted which in turn often results in people being let go.

And if you think that won’t be an issue, reports last year had Chris Ilitch making the final decision to keep Brad as manager because he didn’t want to pay him the $1 million buyout. We need to hope for a mound miracle or two – or at least resignation or reality by the new commander.

Avila was unable to cut payroll this year and he’s got a new boss who historically watches the pennies and certainly doesn’t want to pay the stiffer luxury tax penalties which will come within the 2017-2018 timeframe. The cuts will be coming. It’s just a matter of when.

Selling off the players unfortunately has become even more attractive given that the Twins, Royals and Chisox are entering retooling/rebuilding years. And the Indians have only strengthened their team making them the odds-on favorite to win the division – and beyond – once again. Could Chris Ilitch be thinking that the Tigers won’t be able to keep up after this year? Will he be thinking that the best option for the Tigers is to start the tear-down sooner rather than later?

There’s a lot to support the Tigers having a successful 2017. Let’s hope everyone can get on the same page – and that the entire organization finally finds that sense of urgency lacking from previous years.

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If you haven’t checked out our site (@totallytigersbb) yet, here’s what you missed this week:

      The controversy surrounding Ian Kinsler’s ranking of the best 2Bers

      Proof that Miggy is considered by most to be one of the very top 1Bers

      How Daniel Norris is very similar to Michael Fulmer

      The Tigers’ placement within the 100 best prospects in baseball

      MLB’s rankings of each position and where each Tiger stands

      VMart still ranks as one of the very best despite his lack of running

      Why the Pirates handled their CF issue much better than the Tigers

      Personal thoughts directly from JV, Miggy and Ian Kinsler

      Pace of play updates

      Tigers ranking of best uniform hats

      The best quotes about Mr. I from those who knew him best

      And more!  What are you waiting for??


  1. Can we see serious Miggy this season? How about angry Miggy consistently ripping the cover off the ball with his bat? Or how about healthy & productive Miggy all season. One of those versions could inspire this team to sew it up before July.


  2. To get on the same page they have to be reading the same book. The team may rally but if management has their nose stuck in the general ledger it won’t matter. Decisions based on salary owed won’t bode well. Chris holds the purse strings so we better hope that he is inspired to honor his Dad.


  3. Kinsler will return or traded at the deadline. I doubt they will pay a $5 million buyout when they can keep him for $10. Chris better hope one of the teams not on Ian’s no trade list are contending in July.


  4. I believe the vets will pull this team into the playoffs for Mr. Ilitch and for themselves, and they will do it in spite of Brad getting in their way. The focus by the team may be so great that you see some blow-ups in the dugout against some of Brad’s moves. They will win in spite of him.


    • Do you have any evidence that players disrespect Ausmus? All I ever hear is the opposite, which is also the way he seems to be perceived by his former teammates, managers, and front office people.


      • Hi, Larry – There have been instances in the past where JV, Price, Rajai and others had issues with Brad. Potentially more about his lack of experience than anything else. Brings up the issue about the differences between liking, respecting and following/leading which are not necessarily tied to one another. Thanks for keeping the conversation going! – Holly

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was referring to his sitting Nick after going 4 for 4, benching Rajai for wanting to steal more, etc.. In short, his managing style. Whether or not they disrespect him is something I can’t speak to.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t see the chemistry from this squad to make winning for Mr. I a real possibility. This team DOES have tremendous skill and the Key will be dodging the injury bug. Three games either way come July will generate an exciting pennant chase. A HAPPY ending will be predicated on a blazing START to set up the July -October scenereo.


  6. Owners who watch the pennies, usually watch the playoffs too! Here’s hoping the Tigers star players can lead the team to a WS championship. I can t see Brad and Gene leading them there.


  7. Agree with Holly’s analysis except for the Indians being more talented. Their only position players who would start for the Tigers are Lindor, Brantley, Encarnacion, possibly Ramirez. Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Tomlin is not a better rotation core than JV, Fulmer, JZ, Norris. Francona and Andrew Miller give the Indians the advantage, but the talent is pretty even.


  8. Yes. Penny wise-dollar foolish bean counters usually end up excellent watchers. Hate having owners/bosses like that. Mr.I-you know his vision. I just hope Chris is his father’s son.


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