The Detroit Tigers (29-31) are slowly regaining their composure from a few miserable road stands that haunted them throughout May, as they limp to a sub .500 record. But this has led to the one thing that is worse than a losing Tigers team: a mediocre Tigers team.
The Tigers are in no shape to contend for a World Series. Although talented, Detroit is far from a complete team.Their hitting is streaky, their starting rotation lacks depth and their defense is a dumpster fire. Do they have any chance at defeating the Astros or the Yankees in a seven-game series? Absolutely not.
The best-case scenario for the Tigers is a crawling finish across the worst division in the American League, complemented by an early elimination in the playoffs.
If this is the case, why settle for mediocrity? There is a long list of veterans on the Tigers’ roster that need to be traded if Detroit is to compete amongst the bad boys of baseball anytime soon.
Selling may not be the flashiest move, but it is the Tigers’ best chance at becoming the powerhouse they were from 2011-2014. It has been evident for the past three years that the Tigers are a train waiting to derail.
Their lineup consists of washed-up superstars. Players such as Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander an Ian Kinsler will prove from time to time that have something left in the tank. But building a roster consisting largely of players such as these will only take the Tigers so far.
They will win games here and there. They’ll stay competitive. But they will never compete with the juggernauts of the MLB.
The only way to get around this is to smash a wrecking ball through this roster and rebuild. Every veteran on the Tigers’ lineup should be available for trade. Tigers’ GM Al Avila has jumped on the trade bandwagon since the offseason, but has yet to pull the trigger. What is the one thing that will prevent him from pulling? Mediocrity.
The Tigers will not win anything spectacular. But they might win just enough games to convince Avila to stick with his veteran roster a little while longer. If this happens, the Tigers will inevitably flop in September, bringing with them a washed-up gang of vets that are growing harder to trade by the second.
Avila allegedly wanted to sell over the offseason. But nothing happened. Due to a subpar 2017 from many of the Tigers’ veterans, the Cabrera’s and Verlander’s of the team are more difficult to trade now than ever.
If the Tigers have an awful June, fans can at least rejoice at the likelihood that Avila will make moves and create hope for the future. But if the Tigers play just well enough to stay in the hunt for the AL Central, Avila may wait to trade until it is practically too late.
It may be better for the Tigers to be outright horrible than it would be for them to be decent. The train will derail eventually. Instead of waiting for that to happen, the Tigers should derail immediately while they still have a chance to sell. After all, there are a few veterans that Detroit could effectively deal. JD Martinez and Alex Avila have both been spectacular at the plate and have cheap contracts.
But if Al Avila waits longer, he will have to fall on his knees and beg clubs to take over the painfully large contracts that shadow over Detroit.