I’m a little late on this but I just found it. NBCsports.com unveiled their 2007 Tigers preseason preview last week. Joel Zumaya is the cover boy and while there’s no huge surprises in here, the conclusion is one of the most pessimistic I’ve seen. I mean, the Tigers are a lock to make the playoffs, right?
I don’t want to sound too much like a stick in the mud, but I’m hoping 2006 didn’t spoil Tigers fans. I definitely think the Tigers will be in the mix in 2007 but a playoff spot is hardly a forgone conclusion. In my opinion, the two best teams in the American League last year were the White Sox and the Yankees. The Tigers bounced the Yankees early and the White Sox didn’t even get in. Good teams don’t always make the playoffs, for a variety of reasons. I’d be extremely happy if the Tigers made the playoffs three out of the next five years. The question is though, do they take two years off before making a three run? Are they in one year and out the next?
I’m just worried because the AL Central has become a pretty tough division. You know the White Sox will be right there, and the Twins, even with their pitching woes, should be able to make a run as well. You also can’t forget about the Indians either. And with the additions that the Red Sox (now possibly Todd Helton) and Yankees have made, you figure the one finishes second is the team to beat for the Wild Card.
Then again, there’s also a ton to be happy about. When your left handed specialist is your biggest loss, you know you’re doing pretty well. And when you add a monster bat to the lineup like Sheffield, it should make the lineup more productive.