Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Offseason Review: Detroit Tigers

The new one-two punch
I want to preface this post by saying that, despite the fact that my loyalties lie in Milwaukee, I'm not bitter about Prince's move across the lake. I think it was beneficial for both Milwaukee and Detroit that Prince move on. Loyalty is loyalty but its 2011 and free agency is a lot different than it was in Stan Musial's day. On a personal note, as my love affair with baseball goes on, my sense of loyalty towards one team diminishes. I'm a Brewers fan, without question, but my sun doesn't rise and set on what they do. Fielder is an excellent athlete and has earned his check. I'm still going to make fat guy jokes.

That all being said, the fact that the Tigers are going to absolutely rake next season (which this will) is not going to be the key to their victory. Remember that Prince Fielder found his way in to a Tiger uniform by way Victor Martinez' season ending ACL tear. Prince Fielder's numbers are better overall compared to V-Mart, but not by some phenomenal margin. In terms of just batting average (which I don't care about too much) Martinez wins, .330 to .229. Everything else Fielder wins: home runs, RBIs, OBP, McRibs per nine innings of play. Fielder is going to fucking crush, don't get me wrong, but it'd be a premature assumption to be convinced that he's going to hold some substantial impact as the replacement over an already substantial impact player.

What will benefit Detroit is the fact that they have a good young core of players that I think are only going to get better. Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister are being tutored by the best young pitcher in baseball. In suit, Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson make up key parts of a revitalized outfield. If this weren't enough to build a Tiger fan's ego, the starting infield has three all stars in it with Jhonny Peralta.

Over the course of the offseason they also shored up the bullpen with the inclusion of veteran journeyman Octavio Dotel who will a replacement for the oft-injured Joel Zumaya. Dotel has played for almost half of the teams in Major League Baseball since 1999. He has been through almost every scenario a player in his position can be in, so his capacity to adapt and teach has to be pretty weighty to a pitching staff that is still young enough to be amenable.
Ryan Braun specialist, Octavio Dotel
Other than those two moves, Prince obviously being pretty crucial, the Tigers didn't do to much. They didn't have to. The AL Central only has one obvious contender for probably the next two seasons, maybe beyond that. Every position is either locked up by a sure thing or being held by promising young talent, which is a testament to Detroit's front office competence. Barring long term injury to one or more key players, I'd expect Detroit to win very close to a 100 games this season.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with not being mad about Prince leaving. It's his time. Whatever. That first 48 hours after he signed with Detroit, people acted like they expected the Brewers to have been in the running all along. It's sad to see him go, because we all saw him grow as a player...but damn, we know how much money the Brewers were spending on the players that they acquired in the off-season already not to mention all of the contract extending that happened with a certain MVP last season. All in all... wishing career-ending injuries on a player because he doesn't play for your team anymore is bogus. However, predicted career-ending injuries is something that I think I'm OK with...and I've been dreaming about for like a week now. Welcome to spring training.