The Detroit Tigers are free-falling fast in the AL Central, and it is starting to get uglier by the day. Watching the Tigers total collapse last night to the Cincinnati Reds was not only embarrassing, but it actually has culminated the entire 2015 season – and the Brad Ausmus era. The team Ausmus took over in 2014 was the favorite to win the World Series and in less than two seasons Detroit is on the verge of becoming cellar dwellers.
According to a CBS Sports report Detroit raced out to a 5-0 lead over the Reds, as radio and TV announcers were singing the praises of one Buck Farmer, who was working on a one-hitter entering the 6th inning. If Buck knew what the bullpen was about to do with his good outing he may have begged to stay in the game.. Farmer went from pitching a gem for 5 innings plus, to exiting the game with a 5-3 lead. That’s when once again the Detroit bull-pen came into the game and started to throw gas on to the fire instead of water, culminating into a 10-run 6th inning for the Reds.
It is hard to believe, but the Tigers are quickly becoming non-relevant in the American League. What is more difficult for Tigers fans to swallow is they actually may be worse next season.
How could this stacked team, ready to race towards another ALCS showdown, go from hero to zero so fast? Well, that depends on whose opinion you believe, or like to listen to. However, tracing back over the past 18 months, the wheels started shaking loose after the Prince Fielder trade.
One thing that has always made me chuckle is fans talking about MLB salaries. Many fans act like they actually pay the players, instead of the owners. Hey I am a fan just like everyone else. I cheer, I boo and I love to share an opinion or two. However the fact of the matter is I want guys who can produce on my team, and Fielder was a huge part of the Tigers while he was here.
Add to that fact that there is no salary cap in baseball, and the evidence is clear to me that trading Fielder was not only one of the worst moves Detroit made in recent history (and they have made many bad moves since) it was truly the beginning of the end.
Fielder was not only a beast, he was the best protection money could buy for Miguel Cabrera. While he caught flack for his weight and sometimes his off the wall comments, Fielder was not only the best left-handed hitter in Detroit, but also in the game – and he still is today. The sad part for Tigers fans is Prince was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to poor moves over the last year and a half.
Let’s examine how the Tigers free-fall from first to last is seemingly playing out right in-front of our eyes.
I remember most fans celebrating the trade of Cecil’s son and saying “The good news is with Fielder gone we have a lot of money to sign Max Scherzer!” Oh yeah, that didn’t work out to plan, did it? Following the Fielder trade came these not so memorable moments in recent Tigers history,
Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly for David Price. Ah, yes! The Tigers get the best lefty in baseball in the prime of his career – and promptly trade him the following season to Toronto for prospects. While the two lefties Detroit got in return show great promise (Norris and Boyd) you don’t trade David Price, arguably the best pitcher in the game for two pitchers that you hope may become the next David Price.
Rick Porcello for Yonis Cespedes. Great trade, right? Cespedes has power, speed and a cannon for an arm. So it makes sense that we trade Cespedes to the Mets a few months later for prospects? Nope.
Doug Fister to Washington for, well, basically nothing. Oh yeah, same goes for closer Joakim Soria. Soria was dealt to the Pirates for Double-A shortstop JaCoby Jones. I don’t think Jones will be replacing Jose Iglesias anytime soon.
Add to that Torii Hunter and Jhonny Peralta are having great seasons with other teams, our current bullpen is one of the worst in baseball, and you have a recipe for disaster.
The Tigers do have a few bright spots of course with JD Martinez and the young James McCann, however building around them is going to be tough. Behind the best hitter in baseball Miguel Cabrera, Detroit was a heavy World Series favorite back in February. They opened at 8/1 odds back then, but now they sit at 40/1 .
Hopefully someway the Tigers can build around Miggy once again and give the big guy a shot at winning a ring and bringing a World Series title to Motown. However, that is no way happening with this roster. To say this off-season is going to be huge in Detroit is truly an understatement.
So what is the bright spot for right now? The Lions start in less than two weeks!