The Detroit Tigers made some aggressive moves in the 2021-22 offseason, hoping to put an end to their rebuild. Their plan didn’t work, and this led to a late-season shakeup. The team fired general manager Al Avila in August and replaced him with Giants general manager Scott Harris, who has the title of Tigers president of baseball operations. The Tigers will shift course under Harris and the new leadership. How will this play out?
The Tigers have a lot of work to do after a 96-loss season. They finished 26 games behind the Guardians, who won the Central Division comfortably. Bettors in Ohio had a profitable season backing their team and using Caesars Ohio promo code. Will the Tigers prevent them from enjoying that level of success next year?
Harris didn’t call the Tigers’ new process a rebuild. He had an introductory press conference in September and promised a busy winter for the franchise.
“I think if we keep our heads down, we make smart baseball decisions and we string one after another together through winters and Trade Deadlines and Draft opportunities and international signing opportunities, we’re going to look up and we’re going to have a darn good baseball team,” Harris said. “So that’s my intent from Day 1, and that will remain my intent through my tenure here.”Scott Harris
What went wrong in 2022?
The Tigers had their last winning season in 2016, and their most recent postseason appearance was in 2014. 2021 had an encouraging ending, and they decided to be aggressive, giving out big free-agent contracts to Javier Báez and Eduardo Rodriguez and smaller deals to Andrew Chafin and Michael Pineda and trading for Tucker Barnhart and Austin Meadows.
The Tigers hoped those moves and their core of young players would propel them into contention in the weak American League Central.
Unfortunately, most of their lineup underperformed, and many pitchers got hurt. The dismal results led to the front office shakeup mentioned before, and now the team wants to find a better direction after winning 11 games less than in 2021.
What the Tigers need
The Tigers need power from expected sources. Home runs are very important in baseball. The Tigers didn’t have much power from their lineup, and they at least need to find power from the positions that usually produce more.
Designated hitter, first base, left field, and right field usually yields 20-25 home runs per season. If the Tigers can get players who can produce in those positions, it would do wonders for a lineup that averaged 3.44 runs per game last year (the second-worst offense in franchise history).
The Tigers also need at least one workhorse starter. Starting pitchers are throwing fewer innings per game as managers try to limit their exposure the third time through an order. This strategy is also amplified in the postseason, where players have more off days and pitchers are given shorter leashes.
Having healthy and consistent starters is vital for any team that wants to make the postseason. Last year the Tigers didn’t have a pitcher with more than 21 starts. Tarik Skubal led the team with 21 starts, but he was shut down to end his season in August with an injury to his left elbow.
To illustrate how important this is, last year, each postseason team had at least three starters with more than 21 games.
There is an element of luck to accomplish this next year. Still, one or two of the current Tigers’ starters could easily reach that number, for example, Spencer Turnbull and Eduardo Rodriguez, who would have made over 21 starts had it not been for a personal matter that left him on leave for a while.
Having three 200-inning pitchers who can appear every fifth day is a must to reach the postseason next year.
The Tigers need depth! Key injuries or departures are no excuse for having a poor season. Plenty of teams who made the postseason dealt with many injuries and won despite them. This was done by having depth in the minor leagues, the bench, or trading for players. The Tigers have to fill out their roster with talented players ready to help when needed.