“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy(sic) ride.” – Bette Davis in All About Eve
The Tigers are in a rebuild. Or so they say. Others may successfully argue that this is still a tear down or a salary dump. Next year should give us a much better picture about what this really is.
But we know about rebuilds. What they involve. The pain they inflict. The patience they test. The flash cards of players’ faces we now require in order to figure out who is playing this position and who is at the plate.
But after this past week and the 2 wins and 19 loss record, coupled with the potential injury to Spencer Turnbull, I am unfortunately thinking that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Look out 2003 Tigers. Look out ’62 Mets. The 2019 Tigers have a decent shot at breaking your records.
There is so much going on with this team and none of it is good.
Yes, the current roster is bad but the Tigers could have done so much more with it in order to keep it a tad respectable instead of putting a product on the field that is an embarrassment.
Out of 8 positions, 4 of them are manned by ageing re-treads. And a DH, we are told, who will never fully recover enough physically to put up power numbers.
Three players returned from last year but at least 1 of them will be leaving at the end of the season. Two rookies with 1 on the DL and his locker mysteriously cleaned out even though he’s on the 10-day IL. No one is telling us where he is.
And a handful of rookies so new that we can’t make any real judgments about them yet.
When you look at the desired end product, you realize that the Tigers have to fill a minimum of 5 field positions and maybe as high as 8 before they are likely to reach .500. And given their history of less-than-a-handful of successfully homegrown players going back 15 years, the likelihood of this happening is very low.
Couple that with the stat that only 1 out of every 7 prospects makes it to the majors and sticks with their team beyond 1 year.
If we turn to pitching, the once bright spot of the team earlier this year has decidedly turned downwards. Two starters on 1-year contracts who are unlikely to return. Another who had Tommy John surgery and won’t be seen until sometime next year at the earliest. And the other, the team’s second-most expensive player, off and on the IL for the past 3.5 years with little positive to see when he is actually pitching.
Matthew Boyd is being actively shopped by the Tigers for many reasons. The need for prospects plus a 2020 arbitration year that is expected to fetch him north of $6 million. Oh, and an agent named Scott Boras.
And as long as we’re on the subject, don’t be surprised if the Tigers fail to tender Michael Fulmer this coming winter. Ownership is paring down salaries and Chris Ilitch may just decide that $3+ million is too much for a pitcher who will be rehabbing and regaining form most of next year before a more realistic (and even iffy) return in 2021.
When Boyd is traded, who will be starting for the Tigers? Spencer Turnbull is now on the IL and given the Tigers’ track record with injuries, do you really want him or the Front Office pushing for his return this year? A return that could possibly jeopardize his future?
When all is said and done, and Boyd is traded in the next few weeks, the Tigers will only have Norris remaining in the rotation. As it is, they’ve been working without a 5th starter for almost 2 months now.
And hope is still at least a year away. Hope that also depends upon pitchers named Mize (injured) and Franklin Perez who is also on the IL for the 5th time since being acquired. He’s only pitched 23 innings for the Tigers since the Verlander trade almost 2 years ago.
The starting pitching will shortly be decimated. A fair match for the lineup mentioned above that is missing half of their Opening Day lineup and has one of MLB’s worst offensive stats, if not the very worst.
Imagine how that lineup will perform with Miggy now unable to hit for power and if Nick Castellanos gets traded. Thank goodness for that waiver wire that got us Brandon Dixon.
This is now the new normal. Collecting a roster based off of 1-year deals to ageing veterans, Rule 5 selections and waiver wires. Players that other teams do not want. And frankly, the Tigers should not be surprised with the results. In most cases, you get exactly what you pay for….
We can now add to this with the signing of Trevor Rosenthal, recently released by the Nats along with his 23+ ERA, to a minor league contract. Several of you have commented here on Totally Tigers recently that he will most likely be Shane Greene’s replacement when he’s traded. And you’re probably right.
Even with Boyd, Greene, Castellanos and Turnbull playing for the team, the Tigers now sit in the bottom of the AL Central and only Baltimore stands in their way of the being the worst team in MLB.
The losing streaks are getting longer and longer with the current one (through the Texas series) sitting at 7.
The team has the lowest number of runs scored (by far) out of 30 teams and a run differential of – 149 (2nd worst to Orioles). Only 12 of their wins have come against teams above .500 – also worst in the majors.
Imagine how this will all change when Matt, Nick and Shane are traded.
The team is currently on pace to win 53 games and lose 109. But that includes the month of May that was nearly .500.
It is a figure that appears to be close to their expected final stats with their current roster.
Now imagine how that will change with July’s trades.
Tanking for prospects and extra revenue is one thing. Setting new worst records is another.
There’s something to be said for the value of maintaining one’s pride. And that’s why many of us feel that maintaining certain performance standards are important – no matter how bad your team is expected to be.
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