Tigers Season Preview
The Detroit Tigers baseball season has just started and the boys of summer are looking to take over the top spot in the American League Central. Last season the Tigers finished outside of the playoffs for a second straight year. The Tigers lost team owner Mike Ilitch in early February, as he passed away at the age of 87. Mike Ilitch’s son, Chris Ilitch, has assumed ownership and has vowed to carry on his father’s legacy.
This season, the Tigers have brought back every starter, with the exception of Cameron Maybin, after an offseason that was filled with uncertainty. Tigers General Manager Al Avila said last October that he wanted to lower the payroll, which led many to believe that big changes were on the way. The team still has the reigning American League Rookie of the Year, Michael Fulmer, and A.L. C.Y. Young runner-up, Justin Verlander, in the starting rotation. Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler, who had the big hit for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic to help win the tournament, will also be returning.
For the Tigers to win the Central Division, they need to stay healthy and beat the Cleveland Indians more than a handful of times. If they can’t do that, the team will have an uphill climb to make the playoffs. If the Tigers are out of the playoff race early, the team could trade valuable assets and start to rebuild.
Much pressure is on Manager Brad Ausmus who will be coaching his fourth, and possibly final, season at the helm of the Tigers. If the Tigers miss out on the playoffs once again, that could also signal the end of his run as manager.
Whatever the future for Ausmus this season, expect at least a few new names on the Tigers’ roster.