Anything short of a World Series in 2016 should be considered a failure

When then-general manager Dave Dombrowski announced last season that the Tigers would be sellers at the trade deadline in an effort to “re-tool” instead of rebuild, the 2015 season was more or less given up on. He proceeded to trade David PriceYoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria at the deadline. In return, Detroit received a slew of prospects, some MLB-ready (Daniel NorrisMatt Boyd), some a year or two away (Jacoby JonesMichael FulmerJairo Labourt). At that point, the prospect of competing in 2016 looked bleak, as well.

Now, after a busy off-season that saw the team add free agent outfielder Justin Upton and free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann, it became clear that the team intends on contending for a World Series immediately. But they weren’t done yet.

They would also trade for outfielder Cameron Maybinleft-handed reliever Justin Wilson, and closer Francisco Rodriguez. Also added to the mix was reliever Mark Lowe. J.D. Martinez received a big extension, as well. After the massive amount of money spent in these moves this off-season, it’s as clear as ever. Anything short of a World Series in 2016 will be considered a failure.

Let’s face it. Superstar Miguel Cabrera (32 years old) is not getting any younger. Although he is coming into this season fully healthy, injuries have been a more of a regular occurrence in the last couple years for him. Victor Martinez is in the same boat, already having been injured in Spring Training.

Justin Verlander‘s second half last year was phenomenal, and he has been just as good in Spring Training also. He and Zimmermann at the top of the rotation should give the team one of the best one-two punches in baseball. Anibal Sanchez and free agent pickup Mike Pelfrey are both veterans who have had streaky careers, but can anchor the three-four spots in the rotation, and either Norris or Shane Greene at the fifth-starter position give them a very solid rotation.

A batting order with Ian Kinsler at the top, and the likes of Cabrera, Martinez and Martinez, Upton, and spark plug Jose Iglesias should give opposing pitchers absolute nightmares. Plus, a revamped bullpen should lead to a much better season at the back end of games.

They’ve been close a couple times in recent memory. They were swept out of the World Series by the San Francisco Giants 2012. They also lost four games to one in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. They’ve qualified for the playoffs in four of the last five seasons. Sure, that’s fine and dandy. But, the days of being okay with just being close are over.

Clearly, owner Mike Ilitch is committed to winning, and now. His message coming into the season needs to be simple, and understood. Anything short of a World Series in 2016 will be considered a failure.