In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. This time, I talk about the rapidly closing window for the Detroit Tigers.
The Detroit Tigers are running out of time. Their window is rapidly closing. It’s last call.
Whatever you want to say, it remains true: the Detroit Tigers are getting older, the AL Central is getting better, and if they don’t win a World Series soon, the Justin Verlander-era of the Tigers won’t win it at all.
First though, let’s look at why they haven’t won a World Series yet.
First off, winning a World Series is hard. You can clearly be the best team all year, and then come October just a few mistakes or running into a extremely hot team can spell your doom. Having the best player in the game, which the Tigers have arguably had in Miguel Cabrera since 2007, is no guarantee either, he’s just one man.
Secondly, having a great pitching staff- which the Tigers have had- is no guarantee either, especially in this age where relievers are increasingly important. Just look at last year, where the Tigers lost to the Orioles in the ALDS because the Baltimore bats feasted upon the suspect Detroit bullpen with startling regularity.
And, third, and perhaps most controversially, is that when they have made the World Series they’ve ended up cold. In 2006 and 2012, they arrived in the World Series after sweeping the ALCS, only to sputter out. Maybe they were cold from the wait. Maybe it was just bad luck. Nobody knows.
But back to today’s Tigers. They look and feel like a team in decline. Max Scherzer is gone. Justin Verlander has increasingly begun to show his age, and last season was his worst since 2008, with a hideous 4.54 ERA and 104 Earned Runs allowed, the most in the AL. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez have yet to play in a game yet this Spring (although they might next week). Joe Nathan’s ERA last season was 4.81. Ian Kinsler was an All-Star last year but isn’t getting any younger.
In other words, yes, the Tigers are running out of time. But there are some things that are definitely looking up. They’ve added Yoenis Cespedes, who will be entertaining if nothing else. David Price, although he didn’t set the world on fire for Detroit after his trade last season, is still one of the best pitchers in baseball. Jose Iglesias is returning from injury, and he was a Rookie of the Year contender in 2013.
But, still you can’t help feel like the clock is running out for this iteration of the Tigers. They need to win now, or win not at all.