Plenty of Pitching
The Tigers are stacked with a superior starting rotation. Not only were they a fearsome five-some but they were as durable as your old Chevy pickup. Anibal Sanchez was the only one to miss a start all season (he missed five) while the rest never missed a beat. As a unit they led the American League in ERA with a nifty 3.44 and totaled a stellar 981 K’s, easily besting all comers. The scary part for the rest of the league is that the Tigers could have every single one of these gunslingers back for another run at the World Series title which narrowly eluded them.
However, pitching doesn’t come cheap and in a rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello it will may very likely be trading away one of these valuable commodities. The likely candidate, according to hot stove gossip, is the recently named AL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer whose contract will expire at the end of next season. Granted the Tigers will get a king’s ransom for Scherzer, perhaps a relatively low cost starter sprinkled among a bevy of delicious prospects but Scherzer’s absence will not be without cost for next season even if his exodus may bode well for the future. If the Detroit brass decides they don’t mind shelling out telephone numbers to keep their pitching intact, so much the better for their immediate success.
The Prince Has Been Exiled
Prince Fielder was recently dealt to Texas for top of the order second baseman Ian Kinsler. Kinsler’s arrival will free up beau coup dough despite Detroit shipping over $30 million to make the deal happen. This may also signal the end of third base duties for star slugger Miguel Cabrera and the beginning of his tenure at first base. No doubt that will relieve him of the wear and tear associated with the hot corner and hopefully prevent injury.
While having a big bat like Prince Fielder out of the lineup won’t help protecting Cabrera in the number three slot, Victor Martinez is not a bad Plan B. Kinsler will provide some much needed spark at the top of the lineup while Austin Jackson and Tori Hunter can fill in the holes. Even without Fielder, this Detroit offense still looks mean and lean.
Check out our MLB Odds: 2014 World Series Futures
If you believe the addition of Kinsler does not mitigate the subtraction of Fielder then you are no doubt shying away from plunking your hard earned cash down on the Tigers to win the AL Pennant, World Series or both. However, Fielder is a big man approaching 30 years old and he won’t be getting better anytime soon unless Bud Selig longs for the days of the long ball, steroid era and guys like Fielder can hit the juice and turn back the clock. Don’t hold your breath.
The bottom line is that the Tigers may just decide that having a Cy Young winner like Scherzer is simply too valuable to deal for anything or anyone despite the embarrassment of riches in the starting rotation. Now that they’ve saved some major coin with the exodus of Fielder and the injection of about $25 million in additional television revenue, Scherzer may be in a Tiger’s uniform for the rest of his career.
I realize that the Cats are serious chalk to bring a title back to Motown but sometimes favorites are worthy of their status despite the rather small return on your six-month investment. This edition as presently constituted fits that bill.
Play the Tigers at 7-2 to win the AL pennant or 8-1 to win the World Series in MLB odds at either Bet365.com or WilliamHill.com.