This is the year, isn’t it? Of course it is.
Aside from the eventual World Series championship, perhaps we can look forward to more participation here. More comments, more readers, and maybe even some new voices up here at the bully pulpit. (Invite yourself, already.) There’s even a rumor of a site overhaul that would turn DTW into something more attractive and user-friendly, particularly for the Smartphone People (of which I am not one). OK, I made that rumor up, but still. Stomp your foot. Bang the drum. It could happen. (For God’s sake, give us an EDIT BUTTON!!)
Once upon a time, DTW was a seething hotbed of Tigermania, a veritable WikiTigerpedia. The return of the good old days is up to not me, but you. There are a number of funny, baseball-savvy Detroit Tigers fans here now and more lurking, but there’s room for many more. There are also dumb people such as myself, so don’t be intimidated. Speak up. Comment begets comment begets discussion and the sharing of vital contributions to the universe of baseball knowledge, or at least more snarky comments to enjoy. If you have enthusiasm for the Detroit Tigers, you are…
So how are we looking heading into this new year? For the third in a row, there is great cause for optimism. But there is also disquiet. Things have changed, and change might not be good.
WAR out the door, and more
Prince Fielder, 1.7. Jhonny Peralta, 3.3. Omar Infante, 2.4. Doug Fister, 4.1. Joaquin Benoit, 2.8. Much gnashing of teeth about the loss of Fister, whose monogram has suddenly become CY. Was it really necessary to let go of role players with value such as Brayan Pena, Matt Tuiasosopo, and Jose Veras? Was it their fault? Re-signing Phil Coke has been about as popular as it sounds. Is replacing Fielder at 1B with Miguel Cabrera and sliding in Nick Castellanos at 3B going to have that much of a positive impact on team defense? I mean, really. Joba Chamberlain and Ian Krol are supposed to give us new confidence in the bullpen? Those are the moves? A superficial, on paper perusal might suggest that this team has not only not gotten better, but has actually gotten worse. Oh no!
But there’s dissent via Lee Panas, and also Buster Olney of ESPN (premium insider article). At least on the offensive side. We can all agree that the Tigers still have one of the best starting staffs in MLB and that the bullpen remains a question mark (as bullpens are wont to do).
This is the dawning of The Age of Ausmuquarius, or, An Aus(mus)picious Debut
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last time the Tigers had a new manager, I seem to recall that things went pretty well. Brad Ausmus and an almost entirely new coaching staff have arrived. Culture change? It’s beyond culture change. This is a brand new team with some familiar faces and some unfamiliar features. Monster in the bullpen. Defensive whiz at SS. Actual yout’s on the team as actual members of it, not fill-ins (Castellanos, Jose Iglesias, and presumably Bryan Holaday and Hernan Perez). Something approximating MLB-average speed and athleticism overall, a dizzying concept for Tigers fans these days. When was the last time all of this was in place? Oh, and the Tigers still have Cabrera and Justin Verlander, in case you just emerged from a 2008 time capsule.
It will be interesting to compare the fortunes of the Tigers and the Red Sox with those of the Rangers and Yankees in 2014. Different off-season approaches. I honestly thought the Tigers might spend big(ger) again in terms of new acquisitions. At present, I’m pleasantly surprised that didn’t happen.
Anyway, count me as one of the 2014 optimists. I haven’t liked all the moves, but I like the direction, and the danger of standing pat should be well known by now. The 2014 Detroit Tigers should be a very, very interesting team to watch. My feeling is that only injuries could shoot this enterprise down. My “guy feeling” is that this team has the look of team that might gel as a team like no other Tigers team of recent vintage.
How many days until pitchers and catchers report? GO TIGERS.