Could The Tigers Be Even Worse Than Last Year?
Folks, I know it's even earlier than it was last year when I started in as to how poor the Detroit Tigers are. Remember this article that I wrote last year?
The Tigers were 8-16 when I wrote that article last May. And I know (as of this writing on April 12th, 2023) that the Tigers are 2-8 in the 2023 season. So it's still very early. And I did say that I would wait until May 1st until making a judgement on this year's team.
Well, you can forget that now. Detroit is hitting .201 as a team, surprisingly not the worst in the American League as the Kansas City Royals are hitting below .200 at this point. But their lack of offense is alarming. Jonathan Schoop is hitting .188 and if it continues, he could find himself being released. Catcher Jake Rogers is also below .200, and Miguel Cabrera is just a part-time designated hitter (he's also below .200 right now).
And the team can't pitch, either. The starters haven't been good. And the relievers are even worse. The team earned run average (ERA) is over 7.00. And last year's free agent signing, starter Eduardo Rodriguez, is 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA so far in 2023. And fellow starter Matt Manning now has a broken foot, which he suffered in Tuesday's loss to Toronto.
In other words, this team flat out SUCKS!!!! They could be worse than the 66-96 debacle we saw last season. So what can they do?
New team president of baseball ops Scott Harris isn't going anywhere. He was just hired last summer to replace the fired Al Avila. It's up to him to fix this mess that he inherited. What's next?
I've never been a fan of Hinch (pictured above) coming to Detroit. His overreliance on analytics and a very leaky bullpen is maddening. His insistence for his starting pitchers to only pitch 5-6 innings per start is almost immoral. I would've fired him after last season just based on those two reasons alone. But another reason why is the fact that Hinch actually thought that Willi Castro was a better shortstop than Isaac Paredes (a former highly touted Tigers prospect who was traded to Tampa Bay for outfielder Austin Meadows). That is absolutely comical and a fireable offense, considering how well Paredes is tearing it up with the Tampa Bay Rays. Castro couldn't hit or field in Detroit. That thought process reeks of favoritism, which I despise in sports.
Hinch has two years left on his contract, so they'll ride with him a little bit longer. But if they turn out to be worse than last year, do you move on from him?
PENDING FREE AGENTS
This also covers players in the last year of their contracts. Miguel Cabrera is retiring at the end of the season and the team is using this season as a year-long tribute to him for his Hall of Fame career. So he stays.
But Jonathan Schoop is a free agent after the season and Jose Cisnero likely will be. If they keep stinking the joint out, do you just cut them loose and move on?
And Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez can opt out of their deals and become free agents this coming winter. If they leave, that might be a good thing, in a perverse way, consdiering how poor they've been. But if they decide to stay, they'll be hamstrung with contracts for the next few years like they have with Cabrera's deal. Not a good thing.
Any way you look at it, it's a horrible mess. Scott Harris deserves, and will be given time to try to fix this cesspool of losing. He's got a long road ahead. He has to be figuring that out day by day.
And finally, to answer the question in the headline. YES!!! Yes, they could be.