As any Detroit Tigers fan will tell you, this year was a major disappointment. Some, including myself, would tell you this year was more frustrating than 2014 because the team was in contention until the last weekend of the season, whereas the 2014 squad were bottom-dwellers from the All Star Break forward.
Once again, a team with an exorbitant payroll came up short of every seasons goal which is to make it to the postseason. The team’s major offseason acquisitions played well for the most part, just not all at the same time. Justin Upton finished the year with a respectable slash line of .246/.310/.465 as well as tying a career high with 31 home runs and adding 87 RBI. Unfortunately, most of those numbers came in the second half of the year. His first half was deplorable, with his batting average under .230 until over two months through the year.
Cameron Maybin was good at the plate this year hitting .315 in the 94 games he was healthy for. His real struggles came with staying healthy, and in center field where he has a Defensive Runs Saved rating of -11 according to FanGraphs. He missed over 60 games with a variety of injuries and that hurt the Tigers. They had a record of 51-38 in games that Maybin started and 35-37 in games that he didn’t start. Even if the team could have been a .500 team without him in the lineup, they would have been enjoying October instead of watching from the couch.
Last but not least of the Tigers major offseason additions is Jordan Zimmerman. If the season ended after April, Zimmerman would have won the Cy Young Award. He finished the opening month with a 5-0 record and a 0.55 ERA. Unfortunately, seasons end in October, and from May until then, he compiled a record of just 4-7 while raising his ERA to 4.87. His absence from the rotation is the biggest reason why the team was unable to reach the postseason in my opinion. Without him in the rotation, the Tigers were forced to start Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez far too often, and those two had a combined record of 11-23. Here’s to hoping these three players not only play up to their potential, but most importantly stay healthy.
If the team gets the kinds of contributions from their key players that they expect this should be a team that can contend for the AL Central crown in 2017.