Know Your Enemy – 2019 Detroit Tigers
64 – 98, 3rd in Central
66 – 96, 5th in Central
Tyson Ross James McCann (Free Agency)
Jordy Mercer Jose Iglesias (Free Agency)
Matt Moore Victor Martinez (Retirement)
Josh Harrison Francisco Liriano (Free Agency)
The 2018 Detroit Tigers had a disappointing season finishing with 64 wins, after posting the same win total the year before. This is yet another rebuilding team in the American League Central. This team though is a little different in the rebuilding process, Though they have three players in the Baseball America top 100, RHP Casey Mize (16), RHP Matt Manning (50), and SS Isaac Paredes (94). They still have several pieces that can and should be moved but there are some speed bumps that will be encountered in trying to deal them. Miguel Cabera, the 35-year-old 15 year MLB veteran, is due 30 million dollars this season and is signed through 2023 with club options the next two seasons. That contract is about immovable as a contract gets, and he was hurt all last season. There are other options but they are almost as hard to move, Jordan Zimmerman is due 25 million for the next two years and has been declining since 2017. The biggest trade piece going into this season, Michael Fulmer is in Dr. Andrews waiting room as we speak.
The biggest move of this year’s offseason for the Tigers is the addition of 2017 all-star and former Pirate Josh Harrison. Last year was a down year for Harrison but the Tigers are hoping for a slight rebound this year and to hopefully flip him at the deadline for more prospect depth. Nick Castellanos is the Tigers best returning position player from last season, he was worth 3 wins above replacement last season but may have gotten just a smidge lucky with a BABIP of .364, about 30 points higher than his career number. A young starter that raised some eyebrows last season is Jeimer Candelario, he came over from the Cubs in the Justin Wilson trade that really kicked off the rebuild in Detroit. He was worth 2.5 wins above replacement last season and really was that low due to his defense. I would think he will move to first base once Miguel Caberea is done in Detroit.
The loss of Michael Fulmer not only hurts in the possible trade return but also the actual play on the field. The pitching staff was bad last season with Fulmer but without Fulmer, this staff can give up a lot of runs. Matthew Boyd is the next highest projected pitcher in WAR with 1.7. Joe Jimenez is the teams best reliever. He is 24 and is projected to be worth 1 win above replacement, he had an 11.2 strikeout per nine rate last year. It could be a very long 8 innings from the start of the game until Joe comes in in the ninth.
PECOTA has the team at 66 wins this year, even with that low number I still don’t think they match it. Especially now without Fulmer, this team could dip below the 64 win mark from 2017 and 2018. This team is going to be an absolute mess and with Dave Dombrowski’s decimation of the farm system for years while in win-now mode and handing out massive contracts to free agents it could be a couple of years before they feild a competitive team. Those are the things that the team needed to do at the time as the division was wide open for them but in the grand scheme of things I think this team was supposed to stay competitive for a couple more years but the nose of this proverbial plane started pointing down before it was supposed to. They should “earn” top 5 draft picks for a couple more years so they will be able to build through the draft but really don’t have many pieces to trade to accelerate this thing as the White Sox had.
There’s a quick look at the Detroit Tigers, please let us know what you think on Twitter @SidedSox. If you liked what you saw feel free to retweet us and tell some friends. We are going to do some really fun stuff with this site as the season goes on and want you to come along for the ride. Email us SoxSided@Gmail.com to ask us a question, tell us what you like or don’t, or what you would like to see our opinions on. Thanks again for reading.