2019 Record: 47-114
2019 Outcome: 5th Place, AL Central
2019 (and 2018, and 2017) was pretty rough for Gardy and Company. In fact, 2019 was the low-water mark of those three years, and they finished in last place in every one of them. Surprisingly, although they’ve been terrible for such a long stretch, they will continue rolling with Gardenhire in 2020 (Side note: check out this patently ridiculous quote from the old Twins skipper for a hearty laugh).
The Tigers figure to be pretty bad again in 2020, although maybe they’ll only be “bad”, instead of “historically terrible” (11th-worst in Live Ball Era). Much like last off season, they spent this off season signing low-cost placeholders who can be pushed out once prospects come up and need playing time. These placeholders include the former Twins C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, ex-Yankees Austin Romine, Ivan Nova, and Diamondbacks reclamation project Zack Godley.
The Tigers have spent the last few seasons selling off their useful parts (such as Justin Verlander and Nick Castellanos), and could possibly continue this trend with pitcher Matthew Boyd. Boyd is right in his prime at 28 years old, and will likely be over the hill by the time Detroit is ready to compete. The Tigers are rumored to be asking for a heavy haul in return for the proven commodity Boyd, but we could see him shipped out by the trade deadline (possibly to the Twins.)
Detroit does have some prospect help on the way in the near future, though maybe not in 2020. They have a few very promising pitching prospects, including Baseball America’s #4 pitching prospect, Casey Mize, who figure to spend most of 2020 in AA or AAA. However, Detroit’s position player prospect stock is nothing special, so it still could be awhile before they are ready to compete again.
In conclusion, the Tigers may improve, but Gardy’s suffering will continue. They are no threat to the Twins, and their off season confirms that they know it. #FreeGardy
Check in later this week for the next preview of AL Central competition: the Kansas City Royals.