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Okay, I readily admit this is as close to a pot/kettle situation as you can get, but as Detroit Tigers fans we can hang our hat on the fact that we're not the Oakland Athletics. Is this grasping at straws? 100%. But are we still going to do it? Absolutely. The A's have played one more game than the Tigers, and should the Tigers find a way to beat Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays tonight, they won't be tied for the worst record in baseball. But a comparison of the two teams will also show vast differences that will maybe, hopefully, reluctantly make you more comfortable in your Tigers' fandom.
The Tigers are bad, the A's are worse (if you can believe it)
Any perusing of the Fangraphs leaderboards and you'll see two names clearly at the bottom: the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics. They are both very bad right now and that is where we have to start before we dive in deeper. The Tigers are on year six of a rebuild, that has now been stripped down to the studs from the failed experiment of Al Avila. Our new President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris, has remade the roster and created enough organizational depth to start to build on. On the other hand, the A's have literally sold off all of their Major League assets that could return anything, and are in a full-on rebuild.
Their rebuild is beginning on shaky ground too as they have their sites set on a new location for the team. Regardless of your thoughts on relocation, Oakland is a fabulous baseball community and what is happening to their putrid franchise is disgusting. They have the second-worst offense in baseball, the worst pitching staff, and the fourth-worst fielding team. At least the Tigers are the eighth-best defensive team in baseball through 10 games. Not to mention, the A's have already sold off prospects they acquired for Matt Olson, in Cristian Pache this offseason. So their rebuild is not going swimmingly.
Let's add salt to the wound, just a bit. The Tigers, while putrid on offense have a -41 run differential during their worst start since 2008. The A's on the other hand are one game worse than the Tigers and are -12 runs worse than them as well. That is a mark that has not been seen since 1899! Yes, you read that correctly. Not since William McKinley was in office has a baseball team gotten off to such a horrendous start like the A's.
Now, to be fair and objective (because that's what we do), as long as the Tigers don't lose tonight to the Blue Jays by 12 runs or more (a definite possibility) they'll avoid this dubious distinction.
But wait, there's more…
Now, before you go telling me that I'm off base, and their rebuild is going to be better than the Tigers because they have a better farm system, I'd tell you to check the facts. The Athletics have one prospect in MLB's top 100, Tyler Soderstrom. The Tigers on the other hand have four: Jackson Jobe (58), Jace Jung (77), Wilmer Flores (89), and Colt Keith (99).
This doesn't even mention the breakout star of Spring Training, Parker Meadows. Nor does it say anything about Justin-Henry Malloy or even newcomer Andy Ibanez, who has homered three times already for the Mud Hens, or Tyler Nevin who has more walks than strikeouts through nine games. The cupboard is not bare for the Tigers and they aren't the Oakland A's.
The final word
It's only been ten games, 11 if you're the A's, and the Tigers aren't as bad as the potentially historically bad Athletics. Don't be fooled though, the Tigers right now aren't that good either. Again, as long as they don't lose by 12 or more runs tonight to the Blue Jays they'll still not be as bad as the A's are right now. So, if you know an A's fan, give 'em a hug – they need it. Because as of right now, the Tigers aren't quite as bad as their soon-to-be-gone baseball team, at least not yet.