Zero playoff wins since 2013. Teams with postseason droughts of three, five, six and seven years. Detroit has been tirelessly searching for a winner since the mid-2010’s, with little to no success. However, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. With recent draft success, getting rid of lackluster regimes, and the return of star talent to motown, one could say the buzz is starting to return to Detroit. But the question still remains: who has the potential to put Detroit back on the map first?
Despite making the world series twice since the turn of the century, the Detroit Tigers have fallen on hard times. A complete teardown of the once star-studded roster began in the summer of 2017, parting with names like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander. These trades signaled the closing of the contention window for the Tigers, as the new plan for general manager Al Avila was to gear up on future prospects and rebuild for the future.
This plan didn’t mean smooth sailing however. The Tigers spanned a 198-345 record from 2016-2020, with little player development and countless questionable moves. Seats were empty, and morale was at an alltime low. Al Avila had turned the tigers from a world series contender, to the laughingstock of the MLB in the span of 5 years.
However, with the turn of the new decade, there seems to be hope for the once lowly Tigers. With the hiring of former world-series winning manager A.J. Hinch, the tigers have new life. Hinch has implemented a winning culture in Detroit; his experience, knowledge of the game, and managerial expertise makes him a top 5 manager in the game. With him at the helm, there’s a newfound trust within the tigers clubhouse.
The Tigers in the 2021 offseason made a flurry of moves, but most notably brought in the superstar they’ve been searching for: Javier Baez. Baez was signed to a 6 year, $140 million dollar contract, and will look to hold down the middle of the tigers batting lineup for years to come. Also signed was Eduardo Rodriguez (5 years, $77 million dollars), Andrew Chafin (2 years, $11 million dollars), and also trading for gold glove catcher Tucker Barhart from the Cincinatti Reds. Add in the debuts of rookie phenoms Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, and it appears a window of contention is on the horizon for the Tigers sooner than we thought.
Detroit’s future doesn’t hinge on the tigers however. The Detroit Red Wings, with rookies Lucas Raymond and Mo Seider also appear to be on the rise. Cade Cunnigham appears to be the truth for the Detroit Pistons, as the number one overall pick showed out in his rookie season, averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Even the Detroit Lions, who’re known for being loveable losers, appear to have a pulse. Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes have a plan, and hope to put the lions on the map for the first time in decades.
It’s been a long, long couple of years for Detroit sports fans. Sitting through endless rebuilds, one after another has taken a toll on all. However, it appears a new age is upon us, with success and young stars beginning to bloom in all sports. Despite all having bright futures, it’s clear to me that the Detroit Tigers have the greatest chance in the near futute of putting Detroit back on top.