What Should The Detroit Tigers Do Now?
The Detroit Tigers have exited the All-Star break and now have 73 games left to play in their regular season. It begins Friday night at the Seattle Mariners, broadcast time on 1240 WJIM is 9:45 with Dan Dickerson.
The Tigers are 39-50 and in third place in the horrific American League Central. But are only 5 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Guardians in, again, the HORRIFIC American League Central.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Tigers stretch of games heading into the All-Star break. As it turned out, they ended up taking two out of three from the Colorado Rockies in Denver (That's fine). They then lost two out of three at home to the AWFUL Oakland A's and then lost two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.
Losing two out of three to Oakland at home is failure. You have at least win two out of three and probably sweep them. And the Tigers bullpen choked away the last game against Toronto last Sunday. So they went 4-5 in the last nine games before the break.
The team is .500 for the last 26 games, 13-13. That's not good enough to contend, even in the bad division that they're in.
So what should the Tigers do now? Buy? Sell? Stand Pat? Let's get this out of the way, first...
THEY AREN'T BUYING!!!
With Chris Ilitch as the owner and the way the team is constructed and how they're playing, the Tigers are in no position to buy. We can all see or hear that they aren't good enough to contend. Losing two out of three to both Toronto and Oakland is unacceptable, especially at home. They are not adding before the trade deadline (August 1st).
SELL OFF THEIR IMPENDING FREE AGENTS
This is possible. The Tigers have a number of guys who will be free agents after the season is over. They are: Michael Lorenzen (the team's All-Star representative), Matthew Boyd, Jose Cisnero, Miguel Cabrera, and Chasen Shreve. Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez could join that list if they decide to opt out of their deals.
Cabrera is retiring at the end of the season, and the team plans to roll out the red carpet for him in September to honor his incredible career, so he's not going anywhere. Matthew Boyd has no value because he's out for the year due to recent Tommy John surgery after he got hurt in June. Javier Baez probably won't opt out of the last four years and $98 million of his deal. And no team (except the Tigers) are dumb enough to pay him that kind of money. So that leaves Lorenzen (pictured above), Cisnero, Shreve, and Rodriguez. If you can get a good return on any or all of them, go ahead and sell them off to legitimate contenders. With all the injuries the Tigers have had, they have played enough guys with MLB experience to bring up and finish the season.
NOT DO ANYTHING AND STAY THE COURSE
This is very possible. And I think, the most likely scenario. Being only 5 1/2 games out of first place, you could ride it out with this group and see if they can get closer and contend in the AL Central. They do have a winning record against the AL Central (15-11) with 26 games left against the rest of the division. If they can play that well or better against the AL Central, they could be playing meaningful baseball in September.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments!!