Detroit may have been swept in last year’s World Series, but they were still one of the best teams in baseball by season’s end riding the backs of Justin Verlander and Triple Crown MVP winner Miguel Cabrera. Some improvements were made over the winter – retaining Anibal Sanchez, while letting Delmon Young and Jose Valverde walk – but the team will still enter 2013 with some question marks, particularly at the back of the bullpen. Detroit faces a favorable task of repeating in the AL Central, where they held off the Chicago White Sox a year ago with an 88-74 record on the year.
With the start of the 2013 Regular Season upon us, it seemed like the ideal time to check in with each of our team sites here at FanSided MLB and check out what our experts have to say on the upcoming season. From Motor City Bengals, let’s check in with Editor Matt Snyder and see what he had to say about the team’s best and worst case scenarios, as well as what’s most likely to happen.
Best Case Scenario
Victor Martinez returns to the team after missing all of 2012 due to injury. His steady bat provides a third punch behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in a lineup without any holes. The pitching rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello out performs every other starting rotation in baseball, and the Tigers cruise to 95 wins, an easy division crown, and win World Series rings.
Worst Case Scenario
An injury or three causes the Tigers to play much of the season without Miguel Cabrera and/or Justin Verlander. The Tigers hang around in the division standings, but ultimately end up with 81 wins and a third place finish.
Most Likely to Happen
The additions of Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter (along with the re-signing of Anibal Sanchez) provide a solid foundation for a Tigers team that is simply better than everyone else in the division. They don’t quite run away with the AL Central, but they end up with 90 wins and a spot in the postseason.
Can Cabrera repeat his 2012 performance? Will Martinez remain healthy enough to be another feared bat in the lineup? Can the pitching staff perform well enough to counter a weak bullpen and question marks in left field? The Tigers have plenty of questions to answer as the 2013 season gets underway – perhaps none bigger than how they address their closer situation – but still head into the season as the favorites once again in the AL Central. Whether they have enough to make and win the World Series, however, remains to be seen.
For all of your Tigers news and analysis, be sure to keep up with Motor City Bengals throughout the season.