2019 Detroit Tigers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
All Little Caesars Pizza founder Mike Ilitch wanted was to bring his beloved City of Detroit its first World Series title since 1984 before he died. So, Ilitch spent way overbudget for several years in an effort to do that. From 2011-14, the Tigers were a powerhouse in winning the AL Central every season, reaching two ALCS and losing as World Series favorites in 2012 in a sweep to the Giants.
When Ilitch died in February 2017, that basically brought an end to the Tigers' free-spending ways and their chances of contending anytime soon. In late August of that year, the team dealt franchise icon Justin Verlander for really nothing of significance to Houston. The full-on rebuild was on.
Really not much to say about the 2019 Tigers after winning 64 games last year. They aren't going to be very good, but that's the point. Spend as little as possible while building up the farm system and landing another high draft pick in 2020.
Detroit opens March 28 in Toronto.
Tigers Projected Lineup
The only big name left on the roster is Miguel Cabrera, who probably has the worst contact in baseball now that Albert Pujols' is closer to ending. Cabrera will make at least $30 million every season through 2023. That was Ilitch's biggest mistake by far.
The 36-year-old Cabrera, a former Triple Crown winner and two-time AL MVP, isn't even the best hitter on his own team these days. He was limited to just 38 games last year due to injury and hit .299 with three homers and 27 RBIs. Cabrera first strained a hamstring last year and then had the arm injury that required season-ending surgery. He also missed 32 games in 2017 due to a strained groin and back issues.
With DH Victor Martinez retiring, Nicholas Castellanos is the most feared hitter on the team these days, batting .298 with 23 homers and 89 RBIs in 2018. Thing is, he's an unrestricted free agent after this season so likely will be traded if the sides don't agree on a long-term extension. The Tigers took low-risk fliers this offseason on two former Pirates, shortstop Jordy Mercer and second baseman Josh Harrison. Incumbent shortstop Jose Iglesias and catcher James McCann both are goners.
Detroit's lineup could look something like this: 2B Harrison, 3B Jeimer Candelario, OF Castellanos, 1B Cabrera, DH John Hicks, OF Christin Stewart, OF Nike Goodrum/JaCoby Jones, C Grayson Greiner, SS Mercer.
Yeah, this team will struggle to score.
Tigers 2019 Projected Rotation & Closer
Remember how promising that 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer once looked? He was 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in 132 1/3 innings last year. He didn't pitch between July 14 and Aug. 24 because of a left oblique strain, then didn't pitch after Sept. 15 because of a torn right lateral meniscus.
The new ace is lefty Matt Boyd, who was 9-13 with a 4.39 ERA and 159 strikeouts. Yep, he's the ace. Detroit would love to dump the contract of injury-prone Jordan Zimmermann (7-8, 4.52) on someone. When you are a rebuilding team, you take a chance on formerly good starting pitchers in hopes they can regain form and be flipped to a contender. That's what the Tigers did this offseason in signing lefty Matt Moore and righty Tyson Ross to one-year deals.
Shane Greene returns as closer. Greene went 4-6 with a 5.12 ERA and 32 saves last season but blew six saves last season and allowed 12 home runs.
Tigers Futures Odds
At 5Dimes , Detroit has an "over/under" win total of 68.5, with both at -110. The Tigers are +25000 to make the playoffs and -5000 to miss. They are +3300 to win the AL Central, +800 for the pennant and +25000 for the World Series.
Tigers 2019 Predictions
This looks like the worst roster in the American League west of Baltimore. I expect the few veterans on the roster of value (not Cabrera as no one would take that contract) to be dealt during the season. Go under that win total as the Tigers finish 67-95 (FanGraphs has it 68-94).
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