This isn’t going to sit well with a lot of you and I’m prepared to get bashed. If you do not feel like reading about how bleak the Tigers near-future can look, then move along.
The Tigers window to win a World Series is next year, and then it’s temporarily closed. Let me explain, come 2015, everything changes. And it’s something a lot of people aren’t thinking about.
Here will be the line up based on contracts come 2015:
C: Avila, 28
1B: Fielder, 31
2B: Hernan Perez, 24 (purely speculation of course)
SS: Iglesias, 25
3B: Cabrera, 32 LF: Castellanos, 23
CF: Jackson, 28
RF: ????, maybe Tyler Collins?
P: Verlander, 32
P: Sanchez, 31
P: Porcello, 26
P: Fister, 31
P: Smyly, 26 ??? Maybe he’s the 5th man.
Key losses: V-Mart. Detroit will not sign him in 2014. He’ll be 36 going into the 2015 season. They have no choice, but to let him go if they want to sign Cabrera to a long term deal. Detroit needs the DH spot available for both Cabrera and Fielder. Cabrera has dealt with more injuries the last two years of his career than earlier in career. Why? He plays third base. Can you imagine the injuries Cabrera could possibly endure in the next two seasons?
Detroit will also lose Hunter, Peralta, and Scherzer; Infante may leave also. Combined offensive loses based on 2013 stats: .306/.354/.460, 52 HR, 273 RBI.
Now, take those numbers with a grain of salt because Detroit doesn’t know what the 2014 stats will be but as of now it’s a monumental loss and it’s going to be hard to replace all that production.
Then you look at the bullpen. We don’t know what it’s going to look like come the start of the year so the 2015 roster that I predicted is very inaccurate. But like I said, it’s based on what it could look like in terms of who is signed now. Which isn’t pretty.
Even if the Tigers do implement pieces to resolve the problem pertaining to the bullpen, losing the offense provided by Hunter and Martinez for sure is huge. You also have to take into consideration Miguel Cabrera’s possible decline. It’s coming.
Cabrera will be good, but he’s not going to be putting up Triple Crown numbers every year. That is just an unrealistic expectation. We’ve already seen Fielder’s power decrease because he cannot hit the opposite field home run any more. Imagine in two more years what he could be like. However, I still have Prince as a .280/28/100 guy. Miguel will probably be a .320/34/115 guy in two years in which case 2015 is also Cabrera’s final year. So, 2016 could look even scarier potentially not having Cabrera.
We need to trade Max Scherzer. We could get those young players that extend the Tigers’ window beyond 2014.
If you look at the Tigers current roster, it has so many of its best players around the border of 30 years of age, and you really don’t have the farm system to replace any of them. That’s why the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t deal with this problem and the short window like the Tigers currently have. Albert Pujols leaves and they got Matt Adams and Allen Craig. Then, when Carlos Beltran departed they have guys like Oscar Tavares and the young pitching they have developed to replace guys like Lohse and Westbrook.
It all comes down to development and turn over. That’s why the Red Wings have been in the playoffs 22-straight years. Now, I said this is all based on who is under contract right now. It could change over the next two offseasons, and they could patch some of these holes with younger talent that will keep them good longer than 2014.
All in all, that 2015 team to me looks like nothing but a .500 team. People need to appreciate this coming 2014 season. Because it is the last year, for sure, you will see Hunter, Cabrera, Fielder, and Martinez all written in the same line up every day.