By: Will Burchfield
It’s been a dour season for the Tigers.
Management will be the first to admit it.
In a letter to their season-ticket holders, general manager Al Avila and vice president Duane McLean said, “We felt the time was right to reach out to you directly, before heading into the offseason. Needless to say, it’s been a difficult season. We want to win just as much as you do, and 2017 has been frustrating for all of us in the organization.”
Despite entering the campaign with the second-highest payroll in MLB, the Tigers are 18 games below .500 on the eve of September. Their playoff hopes were dashed well before the trade deadline.
They are playing out the string, before sparse crowds at Comerica Park.
It’s hard to blame the fans for staying away. On top of their poor record, the Tigers have a stale, aging roster. A makeover is in order.
Fortunately, it’s already begun:
“As you know, the franchise is transitioning into a new era, and that transition is well under way. For starters, the construction of our Major League roster is taking on a more ‘home-grown’ approach. We have committed to spending and investing significant resources in player development — programs for players, world-class facilities in Lakeland and renovations to our Dominican Academy.”
In their sell-off at the deadline, the Tigers acquired a wealth of young assets. Their payroll is still very much a problem, but it’s encouraging to see the organization place a premium on youth.
The years of splurging for big-name free agents are apparently a thing of the past:
“Going forward, we hope to make good, sound, data-driven business decision to position the ballclub for sustainable success. We will also continue our focus of providing a world class entertainment and guest experience at Comerica Park located in the heart of a thriving District Detroit. Make no mistake, we want to win for you, on and off the field.”
Read the entire letter below.
The Tigers are set to enter an important offseason, one in which they may further shake up the core of their team. Trading Justin Verlander and his $28 million annual salary seems like a priority.