The light is at the tunnel’s end. Following the $69 million to Cabrera, Zimmermann, Fielder, and Verlander, Detroit has few financial obligations. After posting a payroll in excess of $207 million in 2017, the Tigers dropped all the way to $135 million in 2018 and will likely wind up somewhere about $125 million in 2019. The only guaranteed cash after the 2020 season is to Cabrera. That contract is horrendous, but the Tigers will have far more flexibility.
One of the biggest problems for the Tigers going into 2019 is that they don’t have a roster that embodies the present state of Major League Baseball. Comerica Park is a variable, but the Tigers were 28th in home runs last season, trailing only the Giants and Marlins, who are made to have a pitcher bat at least twice a game.
The Orioles Rangers recorded strikeouts. As far as K/9 goes, the Tigers were the A’s along with 26th, ahead of these groups. The game relies on hitting punching tickets and dingers. The Tigers were among the worst in baseball.
That’s one of several reasons why this rebuild is moving at a snail’s pace. The Tigers are trying to utilize the Comerica Park factors to their own advantage, by relying on some pitch-to-contact types that induce a lot of fly balls, but that only goes so far. The Tigers were 38-43 in the home, but 26-55 on the road.
All of that said, you’ll find two or three silver linings. The Tigers were 43-45 against groups that are fellow. It was the teams which were .500 or better that wrecked Detroit last season, since the Tigers were just 21-53 against those groups.
Are they the group that picks up any additional losses, Since the division enriches around the Tigers? Will the return of Miguel Cabrera and also the addition of a better starting pitching depth help the Tigers exceed expectations? Let’s try to answer these questions.
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