Breaking down the Minnesota Twins’ AL Central Rivals: Detroit Tigers
By Otto Johnson
Puckett’s Pond’s series on the Minnesota Twins’ American League Central rivals continues with the Detroit Tigers, baseball’s worst team in 2019.
With baseball still postponed, the Minnesota Twins’ push to win the AL Central will have to wait. With that in mind, Puckett’s Pond will break down the other teams in the AL Central, and how they stack up against the Twins.
After checking out the Chicago White Sox on Friday, we’re taking a look at the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers struggled mightily last season, finishing with their second-worst record in team history at a rotten 47-114, nine and a half games behind the Miami Marlins, the league’s second worst team.
Though the team had a decent offseason, it won’t turn the club around in one year. We compared the offseason, pitching, lineup, bench, and intangibles against the Twins before predicting the record for each team. Spoiler alert: The Tigers still aren’t great.
Minnesota Twins offseason vs. Detroit Tigers offseason
The Minnesota Twins had the best offseason the team has put together in recent memory. Signing Alex Avila, Rich Hill, Homer Bailey and Tyler Clippard, while re-signing Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, and Sergio Romo would qualify as a huge win for most teams.
The Twins weren’t content and are looking to push their title window wide open, signing 3-Time All-Star and 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson and trading for reliable starter Kenta Maeda. Very few teams had an offseason like the Twins, and that includes the Tigers.
The Tigers made some good signings over the offseason, bringing in sluggers (and former Twins) C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, who each had over twenty homers last season. They also brought in Austin Romine, Hector Santiago, Cameron Maybin, and Ivan Nova while resigning Jordy Mercer.
Now none of the new Tigers are stars (there are two total All-Star performances between all seven players), but for a rebuilding team, the Tigers brought in some good tradable pieces. However, the Twins still easily take this one. Advantage Twins.
Minnesota Twins Intangibles vs. Detroit Tigers Intangibles
Intangibles cover things like the fan base, management, and chemistry. These are three areas where the Twins have a massive advantage over the Tigers. The Twins have the reigning Manager of the Year in Rocco Baldelli, a thriving fan base, and a team chemistry from ownership to the players that everyone is in on.
The Tigers usually have a solid fan base, but with the team in the middle of a massive rebuild and finishing a third straight season (likely headed for four) of at least ninety-eight losses, the fans haven’t been coming. Every single player knows they could be traded or released at any second, making chemistry hard to build.
Finally, management has struggled to rebuild the farm system and manager Ron Gardenhire (formerly with the Twins) has struggled to lead a productive team. In terms of direction, the Twins are flying upwards, and the Tigers have hit rock bottom. Advantage: Twins.