You Should Be Concerned About The Tigers Now
We've now played a month of the regular season in Major League Baseball. And after much hubbub and optimism this offseason, the Detroit Tigers are in the process of disappointing us.....AGAIN!!!
As of this writing (morning of May 6th), the Tigers are 8-16. That's the worst record in the American League, 1/2 game behind Kansas City for that dubious honor.
I've talked about the injuries before, and it is still a factor. But their issues are more extensive than that. Before we talk about the negatives with this team, let's talk about what AREN'T the problems with this team:
It's been pretty good despite not having Jose Cisnero joining Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto on the back end. And Jacob Barnes, Wily Peralta, Will Vest, Drew Hutchison, and Alex Lange all have ERA's under 3.00. They haven't been perfect, but they've been better than I expected them to be.
JAVIER BAEZ WAS A GOOD SIGNING
He has stabilized the important position of shortstop. He's waaaay better than anybody they had playing the position last year. I love his confidence, the team could use his swagger. Just don't go overboard with it.
He's hitting .284 after getting three hits in the opener of the Houston series. And he passed the legendary Al Kaline with his third hit to put him at 3,008 hits for his career. I know .284 isn't great, and he's only got one home run so far. But he's the least of their problems right now.
He's been their best starting pitcher so far. He's 1-2 with a 3.04 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings pitched. Not great, but it's the best of anybody. Like Cabrera, he's the least of their issues.
Now let's get to the major issues:
LACK OF HITTING
Jonathan Schoop (.136) has been awful at the plate. Akil Baddoo (last year's rookie sensation) has been so bad that he's been benched for a few games. Eric Haase (.140), Spencer Torkelson (.167), and Jeimer Candelario (.202) aren't hitting either. All of these guys better start hitting soon or there may be some changes.
Other than Javier Baez, these have been a problem as well. They've committed 15 errors this season, but it seems like way more. They have misplayed so many balls, it's incredible. Hard to watch sometimes.
The Tigers general manager made a good signing with Baez, and the Austin Meadows trade has worked. But Eduardo Rodriguez has been bad. Catcher Tucker Barnhart is hitting .298, but he's no All-Star and not the long-term answer behind the plate. And highly touted rookie Spencer Torkelson has struggled. Tork deserves more time to develop, but I expected better from him. And sending Dustin Garneau to Triple-A Toledo and not sending the awful Willi Castro back to to the minors makes no sense to me. A mixed bag for Avila. But if this team completely flames out, will his job status be up in the air?
I fundamentally disagree with how he manages the pitching staff. He babies his starters too much and is too reliant on the bullpen. I get that you don't want your starters to throw 120 pitches every time out, but this is getting ridiculous. And why does he keep putting the horrible Willi Castro in the lineup? I've seen Castro's act, and he can't field or hit at the Major League level. But Hinch (pictured above) keeps putting him in there. Looks to me like he's playing favorites with Willi. I hate it when coaches/managers do that.
If this team doesn't turn it around, does he come back for a third year in 2023 (he signed a three-year deal right after the 2020 World Series)?
Obviously, with over 130 games left, there's plenty of time to turn it around. But we've seen enough negatives so far that it should raise alarm bells in the Motor City. This team was supposed to make a positive leap in the fifth year of the long rebuild (which was necessary), but it isn't happening yet. If they don't start playing better soon, they may start looking to unload pieces at the trade deadline in early August instead of adding for a playoff run.
The only thing you can say is: C'MON GUYS!!! GET IT GOING!!!!