It came down to almost the end of the season, except it went in the opposite direction of 1987.
In 1987 the Tigers swept the Blue Jays at the end of the season to go up for the divisional lead and go on to play the Twins in the playoffs. This year, the Tigers had a crucial set of games between the Yankees and Indians and came out hobbling. They came back to within 2.5 games behind the Yankees in the wild card going into their last series against Cleveland.
This time, they go swept, and didn’t really have a chance. That ended up being the deciding series.
So, a decent season. Their second half record was absymal, so hopefully they can change that next year. They need to go out and get a really competent middle relief man, and they need one more production man. I think that their pitching is still solid, they just need to get everyone healthy. If Kenny Rogers comes back for another year, that would be a huge plus and they need to get Jeremy Bonderman healthy and some of these young guys consistent.
We saw some more awesome young arms at some point this season. Andrew Miller still has potential and can’t be labeled erratic just yet. Jair Jurrjens, Yorman Bazardo, and even Chad Durbin at the beginning of the season. And Zach Miner really has settled in. Durbin, he kind of has a history of bouncing around, so I am not sure he will ever be much of anything. But look at Timo Perez and what he did in the last two months of the season. He’s been everywhere. Ordonez finally earned his money, let’s hope he can put up those numbers next year too. And above all else, we have to keep Verlander. Middle relief guys who throw smoke are highly overrated *cough* Zoom Zoom Zumaya, but Verlander is the real deal and proved it again this year. He is in the books with the likes of Jack Morris, and we all know what a heck of a pitcher he was.
So, don’t pay Sheffield much of anything if his salary is up. He still was riddled with a ton of injuries. Same with Rodriguez, try to keep him, but he is a defensive man more now and balance for the staff than anything and a little overpaid.
Let’s now become the Chicago White Sox of 2007 in 2008.