Tha Sports Junkies 101

Detroit Tigers: New Year, New Team

Detroit Tigers: New Year, New Team Image via Sportsgraphics36


Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers finished the 2016 season with a record of 86-75 (.534 PCT), which put them 8 games behind the Cleveland Indians and 2.5 games away from the second wild card slot. The 2016 Detroit Tigers could be recognized for their explosive offense and solid starting rotation, but their bullpen was their achilles heel. The Tigers will be looking to rebound in 2017 by making the playoffs. Although the off-season for Detroit has been relatively quiet, they have made some moves in order to help the team succeed in 2017.

Off-Season Moves:

Omar Infante

Omar Infante – Photo Credit: Scott U – Via – Flickr

Most of the Tigers off-season moves have been minor league deals and the most notable minor league deal was given to former Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante. The 35-year-old second baseman is back in Detroit again after spending three years with Kansas City. Infate played his first major league season with Detroit back in 2002. Last season, Infante only played 39 games with the Royals and produced a batting line of .239 AVG/ .279 OBP/ .321 SLG with 11 RBI’s. If Infante were to make it to the major league roster, he would be behind starting second baseman Ian Kinsler and the very reliable infielder Andrew Romine.

One of the more notable moves over the off-season came all the way back in November, when they traded outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Los Angeles Angels for relief pitcher Victor Alcantara. The 23-year-old prospect has been eye-catching since he first signed with the Angels back in 2011 due to his ability to light up the radar gun. His fastball normally runs between 95-98 mph, but frequently hits 100 mph. Although Alcantara’s 2016 season in Double-A was less than stellar (3-7 record, 4.30 ERA), the Tigers’ assigned him to Triple-A Toledo in order to get more work in. This is a move that should help their bullpen in the future if Alcantara develops this year in Triple-A.

Alex Avila

Alex Avila – Photo Credit: rchdj10 – Via – Flickr

The Detroit Tigers only major league signing was the return of catcher Alex Avila, who spent 2016 with the Chicago White Sox. Avila had to deal with many injuries last season, most notably his hamstrings which kept him out of action for chunks of the 2016 season. Avila did not play much in 2016 due to the injuries and being the back-up to catcher Dioner Navarro and eventually the White Sox prospect Omar Narvaez. Avila’s batting line in 2016 was .213 AVG/ .359 OBP/ .373 SLG with 7 home runs and a career low 11 RBI’s. Avila was probably added as a platoon swap for starting catcher James McCann.


Expectations For 2017:

The Tigers will be striving to make the playoffs in 2017 with the addition of new minor league pitching prospects. Most of their team has remained the same, however, the explosive elements of their offense are still on the roster and the solid rotation, which includes the 2016 AL rookie of the year Michael Fulmer, remains intact.

Detroit seems to be sticking to their guns for the 2017 season. They should have a high-powered offense and a very good starting rotation. Although many are probably thinking: same roster = same result. However, this is not the 2016 Tigers. Detroit’s bullpen got much better in the second half of the season as many members of the pen started developing into better pitchers. If the Tigers bullpen has improved as shown in their growth during the second half of the 2016 season, then Detroit should have no problem battling for the division crown with the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals.


Detroit’s high scoring offense and remarkable starting rotation have remained intact so far heading into the 2017 season, while their bullpen has not seen any upgrades so far. This may not be a bad thing as there was a lot of growth from their pen over the second half of the 2016 season. Detroit will be looking to make their team move from a playoff contender to a division winner. Rumors have been circulating that the club is looking to sign free agent Austin Jackson to fill the void left by Cameron Maybin. Jackson had a productive season for the White Sox in 2016 before tearing his groin and ending his 2016 season. This would definitely help seal up the gaps in their roster, but look for Detroit to trade for a veteran reliever before the 2017 season gets underway.