Editorial: Why THIS Detroit Tigers team needs to make one last run

Editorial: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Detroit Sports Nation

The Detroit Tigers offseason is one that would have made Robert Louis Stevenson, he of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, very proud. First, it was “we’re shedding payroll,” then Cameron Maybin was traded to the Angels, they shopped all their big name guys, then stayed completely silent during the Winter Meetings–asking a steep price for said big names, and finally GM Al Avila tells us the team “won’t go over the luxury tax in 2018.” Did you follow all of that? This is what we’re doing, no this is what we’re doing, ok this is really what we’re doing. And, after all is said and done, the Tigers will walk into the 2017 season with essentially the same roster from a year ago–minus a center fielder.

I was asked earlier today on Twitter: “Were you for the rebuild or do you hope they go for it one more year?” It really is a difficult question to answer. In my lifetime I have witnessed a players strike, an 119-loss season, and two World Series appearances. Again, think Jekyll and Hyde. Having been of age during those World Series runs, nearing the summit of the mountain has created a deeper desire to actually reach the peak. I, like all fans, want a World Series. And I understand that going for it now would mean a few years of relative obscurity, but I’m alright with that.


Photo Credit: Aaron Caldwell (

I’ve had the chance to see the Wings win the Stanley Cups, the Pistons win a title, and I was happy for the city and grateful that my team won; even though, admittedly, I’m not the biggest hockey or basketball fan, it was still nice. But, I want my Tigers to bring one home for Detroit. The last Tigers World Championship occurred two years before I was born. In my earliest years, my favorite player was Lou Whitaker, I still have his Starting Lineup figurine on my desk in my office. But I was of an age that I don’t really remember those teams being good.  Now, I have the chance to watch guys like Justin VerlanderMiguel CabreraIan Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, and Victor Martinez play, each of them doing incredible things for my team.

But, and this is why I think the Tigers should push on, of the above-mentioned guys, J.D. is the only one who isn’t on the downward trek of his career. Cabrera, V-Mart, and Verlander have all dealt with injuries in recent years, and Kinsler is going to slow down at some point. The only guy on that list with a World Series ring is Miguel, but I think each of them is equally deserving. And none of this even mentions owner Mike Illitch, who is aching for a ring himself. He purchased the team in 1992 and obviously hasn’t claimed that elusive World Series Championship.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison (

I understand that the “win now” mentality can drain a team for the future, we’ve seen it play out in front of our eyes to a certain extent. I get it, and I agree. Logically it makes sense for the Tigers to rebuild, but then I had a thought in bed last night. Tigers fans have enjoyed the privilege of watching one of the most dominant right-handed pitchers in Verlander, who loves Detroit, and arguably the best hitter ever in Miguel Cabrera don our old English D. If all we have to show for it are a couple of American League Championships, we have fallen short.

It’s time the Tigers bring the World Series crown back to Motown, where it belongs.


Written by AJ Reilly

A.J. is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid storyteller. His debut novel, The Askren Boys, won the Literary Classics Gold Medal and Seal of Approval in November of 2018. When not writing, he is spending time with his wife Jessica, son Jack, daughter Nora, and new arrival Teddy. A.J. lives in Metro Detroit.

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