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Detroit Tigers

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Projected Team

  • 2B Ian Kinsler
  • 3B Nick Castellanos
  • 1B Miguel Cabrera
  • DH Victor Martinez
  • RF J.D. Martinez (DL)
  • LF Justin Upton
  • C James McCann
  • CF Jacoby Jones
  • SS Jose Iglesias
  • RHP Justin Verlander
  • RHP Jordan Zimmermann
  • RHP Michael Fulmer
  • LHP Daniel Norris
  • RHP Anibal Sanchez
Brad Ausmus

For a team about to finish in second place for a second consecutive year, they sure came close to rebuilding. The headlines at the start of the offseason went something like, “TIGERS TO REBUILD IMMEDIATELY, JUST YOU WATCH,” and the world was treated to Ian Kinsler rumors and J.D. Martinez rumors and speculative features about what it might take to get Miguel Cabrera and reminders that Justin Verlander is actually underpaid now. It was all a lot of fun!

The Tigers added Mikie Mahtook.

[sets pile of Mikie Mahtook down on the table]

There’s your Mikie Mahtook, Tigers fans. Don’t use it all at once.

The Tigers were an 86-win team, so they didn’t need to rebuild. They still have one of the best hitters in baseball history. Verlander is back to his acing ways. I’m buying on Justin Upton, Jordan Zimmermann, and Anibal Sanchez, so maybe I’m just an easy mark. But this looks like a roster that could have used a little something, somewhere. Instead, they came up with a Tyler Collins/Mahtook platoon.

Long-term contracts are a helluva drug, and the rising payroll commitments have nibbling at the Tigers for years before giving them a big ol’ chomp this offseason. They’re still talented enough to contend, still talented enough to win one for Mike Ilitch. But they didn’t have enough last year, and they’re a year older.

It would be one thing if the Tigers had the kind of farm system ready to spit out square pegs for their square holes, but they have the kind of farm system you’d expect from a perennial contender that invests everything they have into their 25-man roster.

— Grant Brisbee

Key Addition

The Tigers never figured out if they wanted to buy or sell, and after just a few short months, the offseason was over, and the Tigers were left with [adjusts glasses] ...Alex Avila? That can't be right. Mikie Mahtook isn't right, either. Wow, congratulations to the Indians.

All additions: Alex Avila, Mikie Mahtook, Victor Alcantara

Key Departure

The Tigers traded Cameron Maybin during the minute where it looked like they might sell off their assets for prospects to help them rebuild in a hurry. Instead, they just dealt Maybin, and are hoping the 2016 roster works much better a year later without him around.

All departures: Cameron Maybin

Best Case

The Tigers might have been quiet all offseason, but they do have Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez, Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Fulmer, Justin Upton, Alex Wilson, and more, so they could reasonably put together a run at the AL Central if the Indians falter, and a wild card spot if not. There is a ton of talent here: it just needs to be play up to its abilities.

Worst Case

The Tigers had plenty go wrong in 2016 and still managed to win 86 games, so a "worst case" situation involves even more going wrong. Like, say, J.D. Martinez having a mysterious foot injury that could cause him to miss significant time, Miguel Cabrera's back acting up during spring training, Justin Upton coming off a disappointing first year and failing to make up for it, Jordan Zimmermann doing the same thing in his own second year in Detroit. You know, hypothetically.