Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila is back on the hot seat, but is he really to blame?
When you look at the Detroit Tigers off-season, you can micromanage every single move. For example, there is a section of fans who were upset that Detroit did not land shortstop Carlos Correa. There are a few who may have thought Detroit needed another veteran starting pitcher (I was one of them) and then there were those who believed another power bat should be acquired.
Whatever your thoughts were about the Detroit Tigers off-season, there was a universal thought among the bigger publications across print and digital media. The Tigers got a high grade for their moves:
ESPN’s David Schoenfield said his only qualm was they didn’t go far enough and remained more than $50 million below past payrolls. Detroit addressed their biggest needs in signing Javier Baez, Eduardo Rodriguez and Andrew Chafin. Avila took care of the catching situation by trading for Tucker Barnhart. And then when Riley Greene went down with a foot injury, Avila traded for Austin Meadows to fill the void in the outfield.
On paper, that was enough, right? Not exactly. One thing Greene’s injury did was expose the lack of depth within the organization. I have used that phrase often on the post game shows for Woodward Sports and on the weekly podcasts.
But after spending an entire year of looking at the players in the minor league system, it was a lot to expect Spencer Torkelson and Greene to come out like seasoned veterans. The dreaded “sophomore slump” hit Akil Baddoo, and he’s down in Toledo. Another bat that was expected to step up, Eric Haase, is 3-for-28 since April 21st.
Detroit Tigers needed more
Detroit Tigers fans had high expectations, and they are understandably upset about the terrible baseball they are seeing. So I see short-sighted calls for the Tigers to call up inexperienced minor leaguers and simply release established veterans. The Tigers were supposed to be done with this sort of scrambling, but in reality, they just didn’t do enough to address the depth on offense.
All the issues Detroit had were not going to be fixed in one season. But it’s definitely frustrating to see teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks get a “D” for their off-season grade and then get off to a 17-14 start. Arizona was not expected to sniff .500. Cleveland got a “F” but they are at .500 currently.
Blame whomever you want, but one takeaway from all of this is simple. Off-season grades are useless and never a barometer of where a team truly is.