By: Michelle Bir
Looks like the Tigers are in for another shit-tastic season in 2018. So, to my hardcore Tiger’s base…look away or suffer through defeat after defeat, and do try not to pull your hair out or lose your voice from screaming at the television. It’s going to be bad.
How bad you ask?
Many are predicting that the Tigers will go 63-99 — almost identical to last year’s 64-98 record (the worst in the AL).
After the Tigers went to the ALCS four straight years from 2011-14, the wheels came off and rolled past the damn car last season.
Manager Brad Ausmus was fired and replaced by Ron Gardenhire. GM Al Avila dealt J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson, and his own son, Alex Avila for prospects at the July 31 deadline. Additionally, Justin Upton and longtime ace Justin Verlander were traded. Verlander went to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros (because of course he did). The selling continued as Ian Kinsler was sent to the Los Angeles Angels.
They literally traded off all of their attractive talent, they will now be relying on solid B-tier regulars to play every day. Outside of a (maybe) resurgent year from Miguel Cabrera and a steady season from Michael Fulmer, there’s really nothing to watch.
But can Cabrera rebound from the worst season of his career?
Cabrera is turning 35 this year, and last season he hit a career worst .249/.329/.399 (92 OPS+) with 16 home runs in 130 games. A two-time MVP who hit .330/.412/.578 (166 OPS+) and averaged 36 homers per 162 games from 2009-16. Riddled with injuries Cabrera suffered groin, collarbone, and back trouble in 2017, which can explain the poor numbers.
Cabrera is still owed $184 million from 2018-23. Trading Cabrera and unloading that contract is a pipe dream. The hope this season is he will be healthy and rake like he used to, which could create trade interest. If he bombs (and not in the good way), his contract will stand in the way of the teams rebuilding efforts.
With this kid of grim outlook, one might be included to think this could be the worst Tigers team ever. They will be bad, but not 2003 bad….maybe.
Rebuild. Rebuild. Rebuild. That’s the name of this season, and likely the next.