Let’s be honest: if the Detroit Tigers were in first place right now, Dave Dombrowski would be hailed as a baseball genius. But because of the Tigers’ slow start and frequent poor performances, Dombrowski’s off-season moves will be continually questioned all year long.
I’ve never heard a truly knowledgeable baseball person (think Al Kaline and Ernie Harwell) say anything other than, “I’ll take good defense and pitching over hitting any day.” But during the winter, the Tigers traded away starting pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Andrew Miller for hitters Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers seemed determined to overcome their shortcomings with an overwhelming offensive machine.
But the plan seems to be working poorly as the Tigers have been shut out five times in the first five weeks of the season. The offensive punch is there occasionally, but not consistently enough to make the Tigers’ lineup overcome poor pitching performances.
All along, Dombrowski has been quick to point out that it was actually team owner Mike Ilitch who called him about Cabrera. No doubt, Ilitch is hot to win a title, but by his own admission, he has had a tendency to meddle in the Tigers’ front office affairs and make a mess of things since he bought the team nearly 16 years ago. Let’s hope the Cabrera deal isn’t another case of well-intentioned but misled owner interference.
Regardless of this season’s outcome, Tigers fans are going to second guess the off-season moves of the front office throughout the year. A fast start would have emboldened fans and players alike. This kind of start makes everyone doubt the decisions of those in charge.
Detroit Tigers owners Mike and Marian Ilitch are running out of time to win a World Series. If their ownership ends without a title, the Ilitches will become the first Tigers owners in over 100 years to not win a World Championship.