The light is in the tunnel’s end. Following the $69 million to Cabrera, Zimmermann, Fielder, and Verlander, Detroit has very few commitments. After submitting a payroll in excess of $207 million in 2017, the Tigers dropped all the way to $135 million in 2018 and will probably wind up somewhere about $125 million in 2019. The only cash following the 2020 season is to Cabrera. That contract is horrendous, but the Tigers will have far more flexibility.
Among the biggest issues for the Tigers heading into 2019 is that they don’t have a roster that embodies the present state of Major League Baseball. Comerica Park is a factor, but the Tigers have been 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.
Just the Orioles Rangers recorded fewer strikeouts from the pitching staff. So far as K/9 goes, the Tigers were 26th, before those teams and the A’s. The game is predicated on hitting dingers and hitting tickets. The Tigers were among the worst in baseball.
That’s one of many reasons why this rebuild is going at a snail’s pace. The Tigers are attempting to utilize the Comerica Park factors to their advantage, by relying on some pitch-to-contact types that induce a great deal of fly balls, but only goes so far. The Tigers were 38-43 at home, but 26-55 on the street.
All that said, there are a couple of silver linings. The Tigers were 43-45 against fellow groups that are dropping. It was the teams that were .500 or even better that shattered Detroit last year, since the Tigers were just 21-53 against these groups.
Could they be the group that picks up some losses Since the branch enriches around the Tigers? Will the return of Miguel Cabrera and the accession of a better starting pitching depth help the Tigers exceed expectations? Let’s try to answer these burning questions.
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