The Tigers finished in last place in the AL Central in 2015, as an oft-injured Victor Martinez failed to produce after signing an extension, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Iglesias both missed 40-plus games, and Alfredo Simon, the fifth starter, led the team in starts and innings. With Justin Verlander rediscovering himself and Justin Upton now on board, though, 2016 could be very different for Detroit.
You wouldn't have known it given how long it took anyone to care that he was available in a stacked market, but Justin Upton was one of the better signings of the offseason. He's exactly what the Tigers needed to give themselves more youth and length in the lineup, and he'll do his part in one of the game's most dangerous top halves of the order.
All additions: Justin Upton, Jordan Zimmermann, Francisco Rodriguez, Mike Pelfrey, Justin Wilson, Mark Lowe
Usually this section is reserved for someone the team will regret losing, but in the Tigers' case, the "key" is not having any of their horrible relievers from 2015 pitch an inning for them in 2016. Neftali Feliz, Tom Gorzelanny, and Al Albuquerque were all lost on free agency, and their ERA ranged from 4.21 to 7.62, with each of them pitching in a not insignificant number of games. It will be difficult to replicate those innings, and that's a good thing for Detroit.
All departures: Alex Avila, Rajai Davis, Alfredo Simon, a handful of relievers they will not miss
Justin Verlander is his old self for the entire year, as is Victor Martinez. Jordan Zimmermann proves to be the stabilizing influence the Tigers were missing in their rotation a year ago, and Anibal Sanchez's 2015 proves to be a blip rather than the start of his expensive collapse. Justin Upton helps ensure that the Tigers have no offensive match in the AL Central, and they get themselves back to the postseason where a roster with this much talent belongs.
We're not quite sure how you do worse than having Alfredo Simon lead in innings and starts, but this is a rotation with Mike Pelfrey in it, so we're open to new ideas.
Lineup: Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Nick Castellanos, James McCann, Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias
Rotation: Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey, Daniel Norris