Whoa, did that offseason fly by or what? Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the loss of millions of dollars for Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, and other top remaining free agents. We wish you the best.
Now, the good stuff. The Tigers aren’t good. They will not be good for a while. Anything can happen in baseball, but even still, this team just will not produce. With potentially solid pitching and fielding, that offense will do just what they’ve become notorious for in recent memory–failing to put runs on the board.
There will be very few, if any bright spots for this 2018 roster as well. The rise of Michael Fulmer will be interesting in his first year under Chris Bosio, one of the better pitching coaches in baseball. For this pitching staff though, there isn’t much to be excited for outside of Fulmer. Maybe Daniel Norris or Buck Farmer, both of whom were not great throughout the season. Norris has the potential to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy, but 101.2 innings last year and a 5.31 ERA, there’s cause for concern. Farmer appeared in just 11 games for Detroit last year, starting all of them. Not bad for a 26-year old who’s gone back and forth the last couple years. However, he only pitched 48 innings in those 11 starts. I cannot begin to describe how absolutely horrendous that is for any team, let alone a team that has arguably the worst bullpen in baseball, but that’s neither here nor there. Interesting storylines to keep an eye on for the Tigers’ pitching staff is when Beau Burrows comes up to the majors, and whether or not Alex Faedo or Matt Manning get looks this season.
Offensively, I don’t even wanna talk about it. When your best offensive player is likely to be Nicholas Castellanos, it’s a scary time. Let alone the prospect of Leonys Martin leading off, the man may be fast, but the man cannot get on base to save his life. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Miguel Cabrera’s career won’t follow the same trajectory of Albert Pujols. Or maybe it will, and we’ll have just 8 more years of it. I for one, cannot wait for that! Maybe V-Mart will be healthy enough for us all to dread having to deal with him for this last season. Harsh as that may have been, those two have done so much for this organization and cannot be thanked enough. Through all that madness, there isn’t much to even think about keeping an eye on for this lineup. Maybe the offensive development of Jeimer Candelario, or James McCann trying to be more consistent at the plate.
Defensively, there may actually be a few bright spots. After a down year defensively, Jose Iglesias should hopefully rebound nicely with Dixon Machado now his middle-infield partner. Losing Ian Kinsler hurts as he is one of the best defensive second baseman in baseball, but I like Machado a lot, and I feel he could fill Kinsler’s shoes at least a decent amount. Nicholas Castellanos is no longer the starting third baseman which is promising, and Jeimer Candelario should give more defensive soundness to the position. Mikie Mahtook will likely transition to left field and continue making the occasional highlight reel play. JaCoby Jones will hopefully get lots of time in center, though he may have to split with Leonys Martin. James McCann will likely remain solid defensively from behind the plate. Really, the only storyline to follow may be whether or not Jake Rogers gets the call up at some point this year.
The outlook for this team is so far from good. With a terrible offensive lineup, it doesn’t matter how good this team may be pitching and defensively if runs can’t be produced. On the bright side though, the Tigers will probably draft a hard throwing righty with the first overall pick in June, so we’ve got that to look forward to. And hey, it may be a kid from Florida again this year with Brady Singer being mocked to the Tigers early on.