Front office does little to improve Tigers during offseason

The Detroit Tigers begin another season this afternoon and I admit I’m excited for the season to begin. Opening day marks the beginning of Spring for a lot of us and it gives us warmer weather to look forward to.

That said, the Tigers haven’t given us much to look forward to after a slow offseason.

The team was pretty average last season. 86-75 is good, but not great and not good enough to make the playoffs. Part of the struggles down the stretch last year had to do with injuries taking a toll and although the team is relatively healthy going into this season, the front office has not done anything to improve the team from a season ago.

The missing piece that needed to be filled during the off season was to find a usable center fielder after letting Cameron Maybin walk. The team decided to look within the organization with Jacoby Jones, which is risky considering he only spent a few weeks in the majors last year.

The outfield depth issues only became worse when we found out J.D. Martinez would miss at least the first month of the season, leaving the outfield cupboard empty.

For opening day the Tigers will have four outfielders on  the roster. Justin Upton, Jones, Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook will be the four. Upton hit the ball, especially in the closing months of the season last year, but the other three aren’t experienced major-league ball players.

Last season Jones hit .214 BA with an OPS of .536. Not exactly stellar, but it was a small sample size.

Collins was .235 with the stick and had an OPS of .687, which isn’t terrible, but not great. According to Baseball Reference he had an offensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of .2 and a defensive WAR of -0.4.

So he’s not going to make an all-star team any time soon.

Mahtook played 65 games for Tampa Bay, where he hit .195 and had an OPS of .523. He had a -1.2 WAR in limited playing time.

It’s a black hole of productivity, and the team is going to have to fight through this for the first month of the season. Even when Martinez finally returns, the outfield will be thin.

That’s not a good sign for a team that has the star power to make a run for the pennant. The young pitchers in the rotation are growing, there are still a couple of heavy hitters in the lineup and that Cabrera guy can still hit the stitching off the ball.

But if the front office was serious about winning this season this outfield blunder would have never happened. They would have made a move in the offseason for someone. It didn’t have to be a star, but they had to make more of an effort than this.

Detroit could still make a move for Melvin (B.J.) Upton, who was released yesterday by Toronto, and that would be a good move, but after that the office is limited on what they can try and do for the next couple of months.

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Posted by Brian Fogg

Brian is the sports writer for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3110 or bfogg@pioneergroup.com.

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