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Detroit Tigers Season Preview

by Andrew Richar, Mirror Staff

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The Detroit Tigers are coming off of a disappointing 74-87 season, which they started out 9-1.  They looked to offseason free agency to fix their issues for the 2016 season.

After last season, it was pretty clear that the Tigers had problems with starting pitching depth, relief pitching, and consistent bats.  Injuries were a big contributor to these factors, as well.

As a result, this off season Detroit became big spenders in free agency.  

The added players include Jordan Zimmermann (RHP), Mike Pelfrey (RHP), Francisco Rodriguez (RHP), Cameron Maybin (OF), Justin Upton (OF), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C), and Mike Aviles (IF/OF).

So with all these new additions, anything short of a .500 record would be a major disappointment.  

The team’s goal this year is to get back in the playoffs this season, since they missed out last season for the first time since 2010.  

With all the money they spent on the newly acquired players, the new additions increase the pressure to to make the postseason.

The Tigers have the defending World Series champions and the are the 2016 favorite to win the World Series in their division (American League Central).  This could lead to some issues throughout the season with how often they play each other.

Last season, Victor Martinez was out due to injury for a lot of the season, and Miguel Cabrera was playing through an injury most of the time.  

In the pitching department, Anibal Sanchez had rotator cuff issues and Justin Verlander was out at the beginning of the season with tricep problems.

The team’s manager, Brad Ausmus, said that Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera looked like new, healthy people in spring training.  The Tigers as a whole have been able to stay pretty healthy in spring training, with the exception of players exiting for precautionary reasons.

This is music to the ears of these fans.

This is a team with a lot of potential.  Justin Verlander is back.  Victor Martinez is back.  Miguel Cabrera looks to be the same.  Pitching should be there.  The middle infield could be one of the best in the Major League, and James McCann has one of the strongest arms from behind the plate.

This is also some of the best  depth the Tigers have had in awhile.  Saltalamacchia will be very good backup catcher when McCann needs a rest.  Aviles will be able to play backup for any infield position, plus left and right field.  Maybin will be a decent backup outfielder as well.

It looks like Tigers fans might have to wait another season for the (full time) call up of the organization’s number one prospect, Steven Moya.  He is a right fielder who hit for a very good average in spring training, but it will be interesting to see if the Tigers can find a comfortable spot for him.

Even though the relief pitching was made better in the offseason, it will be something to keep an eye as a fan.  

This group hasn’t experienced a true test yet, and won’t until the regular season.  None the less, it is reasonable to expect the postseason this squad and even a possible run.

I predict the Tigers will finish the regular season with a 87-75 record.  This will be good enough for second place in the division (behind the Kansas City Royals), and will earn them a wild card birth.  

They will beat the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card matchup.  Unfortunately, the road will end in the next round of the postseason for Detroit, against the Baltimore Orioles.

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Detroit Tigers Season Preview