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The Detroit Tigers Are A Disgrace

I'm embarrassed that I ever believed. I'm sick that I ever bought in. I thought they'd turned a corner. I was so, so wrong. 

The Detroit Tigers are a representation of everything wrong with baseball. Their pitching staff can't stay healthy. Their offense is historically awful, and most fans collectively hold their breaths every time someone on the infield has to field a ground ball and throw to first. They have one of the laziest, cheapest owners in sports and a GM who has shown time and time again that he is incompetent. I'd be lying to you if I said that this pathetic rebuild didn't result in some good things. The Tigers have a manager in A.J. Hinch, who I believe, under the right circumstances, could be a World Series manager. They have a pitching coach in Chris Fetter, who has consistently worked his fingers to the bone, getting the most out of a battered and bruised pitching staff. Tarik Skubal is an ace, and they have an excellent bullpen. That's it. That's all you have to show after six years of sucking. There are rumors that Chris Fetter may take the head coaching job at the University Of Michigan. For his sake, I hope he does. He deserves better. And at the end of the year, A.J. Hinch may jump ship to a team that knows how to construct a roster worth a damn.

This is year six of the Tiger's rebuild, and it's the sixth year that the Detroit  Tigers have continued to employ people who shouldn't be employed. Al Avila should've been fired halfway through the 2019 season. And yet, he's still here. He remains in Detroit because he sold the world on the fact that the Tigers had a young core of prospects that were going to take Detroit to the promised land. In 2020, they had five prospects in the top 100. Here's what's become of them

Casey Mize- Tommy John

Matt Manning- Has pitched eight innings this year and had a 5.50 ERA in his career.

Tarik Skubal- Emerging ace

Spencer Torkelson- Has the worst batting average in baseball

Riley Greene- Yet to play a major league game

I'm not giving up on any of these guys. They're still young and can figure it out. But it's been SIX YEARS!!!! Six years into a rebuild, you have an offense that is on pace to be the worst offense of the modern age. Aaron Judge has 25 home runs. The Tigers have 31 AS A TEAM! They've been shutout nine times, equaling last year's total. They've been held to two runs or fewer in thirty-one of sixty-two games. It's all good, though, because Chris Ilitch will indeed spend money when the time is right, which he promised for five years. Well, he went out and spent, and who did he spend money on? Eduardo Rodriguez, a good pitcher who is currently away from the team because of a marital issue, and Javier Baez, who, as I wrote yesterday, is the worst hitter in baseball. Great job! Has the pitching staff suffered terrible luck with the injuries? Absolutely, and it's why I don't blame Chris Fetter or A.J. Hinch for having to navigate through these muddy waters, but this organization hasn't earned the benefit of the doubt. They haven't earned our sympathy. 

The truth is that the Detroit Tigers have become what the Detroit Lions used to be. They employ people and put them in positions of power not because they're good at their jobs but because they're likable. Al Avila seems, by all accounts, to be a wonderful human being. He's been cordial to the fans and friendly with the media. Congratulations! He also traded Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Shane Greene, and Nick Castellanos. In exchange for those six All-Stars, he got back one stable major league player, and it's reliever Alex Lange, who they acquired in the Castellanos deal. That should've been grounds for instant termination. But because the Tigers organization lives in an alternate reality, Al Avila was given an extension three years ago.

O, and that excellent farm system that everyone in the Tigers organization raved about? It stinks now. At least three years ago, you could've sold us on the idea that reinforcements were right around the corner. The only essential piece left from the tanking era is Riley Greene, who I'm sure will get called up soon. I'll be excited to see what the kid can do. I was also excited to see what Jake Rogers, Kody Clemens, Dawel Lugo, Daz Cameron, Willi Castro, Isaac Paredes, and Spencer Torkelson could do and look at how that's turned out. Why do we have to believe at this point that Riley Greene will be any different? And even if he is, so what? Baseball is a team game. If Riley Greene sets the world on fire, he'll be auditioning to be traded to another team in two years when rebuild 2.0 starts again. 

I'm sickened by this product. I know that Detroit fans constantly lament that this team didn't win a World Series from 2006 to 2014, but at least that era meant something. At least they had an owner that cared and a GM who spent like crazy and helped get the Tigers back to relevance again. This current regime blew everything up, and while a reset was necessary, had you have told me after the Verlander trade that in 2022, the Tigers would be using not one, not two, but THREE position players to pitch in a game, I would've slammed my head into a brick wall.

This organization has failed A.J. Hinch. They have failed Chris Fetter and, more importantly, their fans. I'm done trying to sell you on the idea that things are getting better. And yes, I'm aware that I was the one who said that the rebuild was over after Javier Baez hit a walkoff on Opening Day. I've gotten enough tweets about it. I'm a fool for having hope, and I'm a fool for believing. My heart is broken by what I've seen. I think back to those summer nights from 2006 to 2014. As a baseball fan, there is something poetic and meaningful about knowing you're invested for the summer. That hasn't been the case here for a long time, and I don't know when it will be again. This fan base is full of people who love this team so much that they'll get buried in their Tigers caps. This current regime has isolated that fan base. I wish I could say things will improve one day, but I don't know when that day will be. Detroit, you deserve better. You always have.