Can the Detroit Tigers Engineer a Season of Redemption?

Embarking on a journey, the Tigers aim high

by Nouman Rasool
Can the Detroit Tigers Engineer a Season of Redemption?
© Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers strive to embark on a new chapter as they try to recapture the form that took them to an unexpected American League pennant back in 2006. The year that the team last appeared in the postseason was 1984, which seems like 100 years ago during that era led by Sparky Anderson and a magical 35-5 start to the season.

While midway through the season there was some mid-season faltering, and they eventually had to settle for a Wild Card entry, this remains the highlight in recent history of the Tigers' franchise. This was followed by a competitive streak from 2010 to 2014 that took them to the peak of reaching the 2012 World Series, when they were bested by the San Francisco Giants.

But recent years, in fact, have been bringing with them some of the cruxes of dealing with bloated contracts and diminishing returns from once-celebrated stars—helping to create a cycle of rebuilds that have yet to fully bear fruit.

Signs of the resurgence have appeared in two of the past three seasons—promising finishes after shaky starts, but the consistency that is ultimately desired continues to elude them.

New Leaders, New Hope

The Tigers head into this season with cautious hope and the determination under new leadership tandem General Manager Jeff Greenberg and President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris.

That group of guys includes 23-year-old youth talents centerfielder Riley Green and first baseman Spencer Torkelson, 24, among veterans who are poised for resurgence like Javier Baez. Indeed, the team has a lot of promise from its pitching staff, headed by Tarik Skbual, and supported by the duo from the signing of Kenta Maeda and Jack Flaherty, with promise for excellence.

Projected to contend for second place in the American League Central, the Tigers are viewed as potential dark horses. And so the key to exceeding expectations comes in not having the one thing that has plagued them through history: stumbling out of the gates.

They will be tested in seven of their first 13 games against the reigning division champions, Minnesota. Early weeks in September can be set to tone for a season of meaningful September baseball as the Tigers look to finally break from their past and forge a path to contention.

Detroit Tigers