Jacob Markle from Bless You Boys stops by to enlighten us on the Detroit Tigers ahead of the Angels — Tigers series. You can follow him on Twitter @jacobelkram_byb.
RS: Now-passed away Tigers owner Mike Ilitch wanted to win a championship so badly that he spent in acquisitions without regards to financial constraints. Now that he is no longer here, what are the Tigers' luxury tax plans for roster construction? And how much his is presence missed in Detroit?
I wish I could give you a good, thorough, and concise answer to this question, but I really can't. The Tigers' brass has promised a plan that involved plenty of changes, but so far, that promise has been nothing but smoke in mirrors. The future of the Tigers' budget is as clear as mud. However, this I do know: Mr. I was an absolute joy and will be missed by his colleagues, the City of Detroit, and Tigers fans in general.
Going off the last question, Cameron Maybin was dealt to 'kick off the rebuild' and then the Tigers stood pat last offseason, in essence having a complete roster but no center fielder. I take it that was not a popular move, yes?
I'm not sure one could overstate how unpopular of a trade it was. The hatred towards the that trade was almost palpable. There was a cry of incompetence that came to a nearly deafening roar, and many were calling for GM Al Avila to be fired.
How incredible is it to be able to watch a Hall of Famer play everyday in Miguel Cabrera, not to mention a mound counterpart in Justin Verlander?
Cabrera is a gem in every way, and it's incredibly fun to watch him play. What's alway been remarkable about him to me is that Cabrera does not have a power-oriented swing, he hits line drives. It just so happens that those line drives are backed with monster power to all fields. His personality is also delightful, and I always get a kick out of watching him interact with other players, especially fellow Venezuelans. JV is and always will be a beast. What more can I really say? He's an ace through and through, and I dread the day he hangs up the cleats for good.
What exactly does the short-term and long-term plans for the Tigers look like? With an aging core, injuries and regression are bound to take their toll eventually.
I have no clue whatsoever, and I doubt anyone could give you an accurate answer. I would be unsurprised if the Tigers became the nest White Sox (hard-core teardown), the next Phillies (slow burners), or the next Rockies (middling mediocrity for a loooong time).
Fill in the blanks (and explain): The biggest strength of this team is ___ and the biggest weakness is __.
The biggest strength of this team is its starting pitching. Save the smoldering wreck that's left of Jordan Zimmermann (I liked him, dang it!) Detroit's rotation is nearly impeccable. You've got a true and unquestionable ace in Justin Verlander, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year in Micheal Fulmer, an immense amount of upside in Daniel Norris, and a solid if unspectacular #5 with Matt Boyd. Th offensive core is a close second, but the pitching edges them out. Beyond the Box Score actually wrote an article about this that's worth checking out.
Boy, that Yoenis Cespedes trade keeps on giving, huh?
Yep, it really does. If you follow the trade chain, half a year of Cespedes has netted the Tigers a fantastic young starting pitcher who will be a long-term #2 in the rotation and a closer whose career isn't in its death throes. I'd do that trade again eleven out of ten days in a heartbeat.
Are you relieved that Dave Dombrowski is gone and can no longer trade your prospects away?
Am I relived that Dombrowski can no longer set fire to the far system? Yes. Am I relieved that one of MLB’s top swindlers and dealmakers now sits at a different team’s helm? Heck no! While it’s true that the Tigers’ top prospects - Manning, Burrows, Stewart, Jimenez, and Funkhouser - would likely all be wearing someone else’s uniform by the time they are big leaguers if Dombrowski was still in charge, I would not have fired him. He has a well-earned reputation for trading every worthwhile minor leaguer in his organization, I would contend that he also is the best rebuilder in the game not named Theo Epstein. He took the Marlins, who were in shambles, and got them a ring. He took the Tigers organization - one of the worst teams in the league - and turned them into a yearly contender who reached the World Series. It looks like the current team may implode soon, and I really would prefer to have DD in charge when it happens than just about anybody else.