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This team could score a thousand runs. Do you recognize those words? That was a quote that most “experts” were saying about the Tigers in regard to their line up. However these Tigers have been tamed and with no real light at the end of the tunnel they may be the most mis-evaluated team in recent memory. I wrote back in December about the team and how I though they stacked up against the Red Sox and if they were now the best team in the AL. Upon completion of the break down I realized they were built with a flaw in the infrastructure, a lack of pitching. I thought they would mirror the Yankees of recent years, big line up that demolishes bad pitching. However just like the Yankees they were not built for a short series. Well, so far I have been half right. Their pitching is horrendous. They rank dead last in team ERA and WHIP. Even worse, outside of rushing Rick Porcello and hoping he has some sort of miraculous success no help is on the way.
Now you can talk about the injuries all you like, they have had their fair share. However they were put together with flaws from the start. I still like the Cabrera/Willis deal. However they handed Willis the extension already. Also they were counting on a forty year old Sheffield who was coming off shoulder surgery in the heart of the line up and a forty three year old Kenny Rogers coming off an injury himself to be a key starter in the rotation. Never mind the fact that Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco were coming off career years. They also went and made what I consider a short sighted trade with the Braves for Edgar Renteria. Now certainly getting Renteria’s bat in the line up does not hurt, but at last he himself was coming off a career year, struggled immensely in his one season in the AL and was now considered a defensive liability with his arm and declining range. On top of that they gave up a young pitcher in Jair Jurgens, who while not a stud would probably slot in as the number three starter on the Tigers staff.
In the end I still think this team will balance out fine offensively, but I do think they will miss the playoffs and even if they make it this is one of the worst assembled teams in recent memory. More over this would not be a big deal at all, except for the fact that these Tigers now sport the second largest payroll in baseball, yet they look like a eighty eight to ninety win team. Man, a hundred and fifty million just doesn’t buy what it use to.