Before each season begins, a good friend of mine takes a straw poll among all of his friends who happen to be Tiger fans. The poll is that he asks us how many games the Tigers will lose in the upcoming season. It has become a tradition. When it came time for him to ask me how many I thought they would lose I speculated that they would lose 102 games. I looked at the fact that other than Dmitri Young, the team was relatively free of injury last season. I reflected on the fact that Brandon Inge, Omar Infante and Carlos Guillen all performed beyond my wildest expectations last season. I thought about the fact that that it would be unlikely that Alex Sanchez would be able to continue
to maintain a batting average as high as what his was with his inability to draw walks. I also looked at the Pudge factor, I still have high expectations but there is no way he will bat .500 in a month again in his career! Without a clear-cut #1 starting pitcher, how could this team help but get worse.
Yet, with the signing of Magglio Ordonez and the trade for Jeff Farnsworth, the picture looks a bit more rosy. There are a lot of questions, but my opinion has changed. They will not lose 102 games even if they are unable to improve upon last season’s performance. They have a couple of tradeable commodities in Ugueth Urbina and whomever they decide is least useful between Alex Sanchez, Bobby Higginson, and Rondell White. Those trades could possibly fill any holes that could emerge or provide some more prospects to bank for future use.
I am ready for spring and very hopeful that the Tigers will continue their entertaining brand of baseball. They will rarely disappoint with their effort and their triumvirate of Young, Pudge and Ordonez should creates some offensive fireworks. I am even mildly optimistic about a future role that Dean Palmer may serve in for the team’s benefit. Anybody who has known me for any extended period of time would be astonished by that pronouncement.