MLB insider Ken Rosenthal took the Detroit Tigers to task, exposing their deficiencies this season and blaming general manager Al Avila for failures.
Detroit sits fourth in AL Central standings with a 26-42 record, one win ahead of the last-place Kansas City Royals.
Although the Royals are mailing it in this year as endless Andrew Benintendi rumors swirl about, the Tigers have already embarked on an ambitious rebuild, notably with the offseason signing of Javier Báez.
But as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal notes, “a rebuild does not end with the signing of one or two free agents, or the promotions of one or two top prospects.”
“Even the best teams continually chip away at their deficiencies,” Rosenthal continued. “And only through proper evaluating and deft maneuvering can a middling club like the Tigers ascend to elite.”
Rosenthal then outlines the many failures Detroit has endured in 2022, all stemming from longstanding structural issues that led them to this disappointing point.
Ken Rosenthal outlines everything that’s wrong with the Detroit Tigers in 2022
Injuries have thrown a wrench into Detroit’s plans for 2022, with Tarik Skubal the only Opening Day player operating at full capacity. Still, injuries can’t explain why manager AJ Hinch chose to use three position players to pitch rather than utilizing his 10-man bullpen. That mistake proved costly in a 13-0 loss to the White Sox, where a scoreless Tigers team had little to lose by digging into their bullpen.
These kinds of mismanagements, coupled with the reality that Tigers hitters are batting at a “historically futile level,” make Rosenthal’s sharp writing almost comical if it weren’t utterly tragic.
General manger Al Avila declared that the entire organization is upset about the disappointing results, but according to Rosenthal, rival executives wonder “whether Avila is creative and savvy enough to build a consistent winner.”
For example, Avila pinned the team’s hopes and dreams on 29-year-old shortstop Javier Báez, but Rosenthal now notes that an underperforming Báez “might never fulfill his offensive promise.” That’s unfortunate, considering that the Tigers shelled out $140 million over six years to acquire him.
Rosenthal’s writing seems prescient when it comes to the Tigers, as today’s downfall has been preceded by years of mismanagement. Perhaps it’s not all that difficult to predict that if Avila doesn’t change the way Detroit does business, the Tigers will continue to sit at the bottom of divisional standings.