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??