|2010 Season Preview: Detroit Tigers||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on March 19, 2010
2009 Regular Season Record: 75-87
OF - Austin Jackson (Trade with Yankees)
LHP - Phil Dumatrait* (Free Agent from Pirates)
LHP - Daniel Schlereth (Trade with D'Backs)
LHP - Phil Coke (Trade with Yankees)
LHP - Brad Thomas* (Free Agent, played in Korea last season)
RHP - Jose Valverde (Free Agent from Astros)
RHP - Max Scherzer (Trade with D'Backs)
*Signed minor league contract.Strengths:Â An offensive core, a promising starting rotation
If you don't think an offense featuring Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge won't score some runs you are sadly deluded.Â However the Tigers have bet big that trading for Austin Jackson and signing Johnny Damon will make up for the loss of Curtis Granderson and Ryan Rayburn who has been pushed to the bench or to a utility role by the addition of Damon.Â That's a big if, but so long as the four above manage to dodge serious injuries the Tigers should put plenty of runs on the board.
The Tigers rotation looks good, at least on paper.Â Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer, Bonderman and Galarraga should match up well with just about anyone in the division, provided of course that is how the rotation stays.Â The last couple of spots are probably up for grabs, but just who really can step up for them better than Bonderman and Galarraga is a big question.Â That bears watching this spring, especially since the Tigers would love to have at least one lefty in the rotation -- that could mean that Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis might find themselves somewhere in the mix.
A real closer.Â Fernando Rodney may have notched 37 saves last year but he did it with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP that made every inning a nail biter.Â The team needed more than that for this year so they went out and brought in Jose Valverde who should be a solid step up.
Weaknesses: Breakdown risks, injury risks, a hole in the lineup, and immaturity.
Then you have the offense -- and that's a whole other ball of wax, actually make that worries.Â Magglio Ordonez is 36 but often seems older and managed just nine home runs last year.Â Brandon Inge (33) often seems unable to hit his way out of a paper bag .236 career average, despite tying a career high for home runs last year.Â And Johnny Damon (37) after a career year last season is just waiting for age to catch up with him.Â All of them are injury risks and all are at risk of taking a step back.
The hole in the lineup, however, is at the tail end where the Tigers can't expect much in the way of production.Â Neither Gerald Laird nor Adam Everett will ever be considered as lineup threats -- and the team would be lucky to see .240 from either of them with 12 home runs combined.
Lastly let's come to immaturity.Â The team is relying a lot on young talent.Â They'll need Austin Jackson, Scott Sizemore and both Porcello and Scherzer to deliver this year.Â Of the four Scherzer has the most experience, but Porcello is the only one who has ever shown a maturity level above his years.
One question that need answering: