For romantics, the rising temperatures and emerging flowers of spring can
mean only one thing the return of our greatest love... baseball.
Unfortunately, the 2010 Detroit Tigers team can be boiled down to one
symbol: ? -- a giant question mark at that.
In my 50 years of following the Tigers, a season does not come to mind
when Detroit had so many key players that are either rookies or coming off
of seasons of injuries and ineffectiveness. Any result is possible for
the 2010 team, ranging from World Series winner (admittedly a long-shot)
to cellar dweller. My best guess is Detroit will win about as many as they
lose this season.
Despite being clouded in uncertainty now, the Tigers have a bright future
beginning next season. They have a great core of young pitchers including
starters Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello. Hard-throwing Ryan Perry, who
will eventually be the teams closer for the next decade, anchors the
More good news - for the first time in ages, Detroits minor league teams
seem to be rich with talent, ready to send several good players to the big
leagues. The best pitching prospect is 18-year-old Jacob Turner, though
he may be a couple years away from producing. Several other everyday
players in the minors will be contributing with the Tigers next season at
The 2010 teams two rookie starters, center-fielder Austin Jackson and
second-baseman Scott Sizemore, will have growing pains this season but
eventually be excellent players. No less authority than Johnny Damon
thinks Jackson, in particular, is destined to be a super-star.
Another reason to be more optimistic about next season is that several bad
contracts with Tigers players on the decline will be concluded this year.
Magglio Ordonez, Jeremy Bonderman, and Dontrelle Willis are being paid a
combined $43 million in 2010 alone. All can be erased from the payroll
next year with the potential of signing new players that will contribute
much more. Say goodbye to these players and several more as the team
cleans house for the future except for a small, valued core of players.
The biggest cause for hope is invested in the biggest man on the team at
64 and 240 pounds Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers first-baseman signed an
8-year contract a couple of years ago through the year 2016 for an
average of almost $20 million each season. By major league baseballs
payroll standards, that whopping price could end up a bargain for
While the teams makeup endures a major shakeup over the next couple of
years, it is scary to think of the teams prospects without Cabrera in the
lineup. Overlooked by the national media, at this moment he may be the
most feared hitter in baseball. Cabrera is off to a blazing start
leading the team in most offensive categories and accumulating a
league-best number of RBI (runs batted in).
Miguel Cabrera is the rare hitter that hits for a high average and
tremendous power. This year it seems every home run he crushes has been in
a pressure situation that has helped Detroit win or come close to winning
a close game.
After a highly publicized incident with alcohol at the end of last season,
he seems to have made amends and be a changed man this year. If Cabrera
stays off the sauce and keeps his body in shape, he should be finally
recognized as an All-Star and future Hall-of-Famer.