MLB Year in Review: Detroit Tigers

How a potential playoff team began fighting for a top draft pick.

Wide-angle view of Comerica Park

Wide-angle view of Comerica Park

Matty Hauth, Copy Editor

The Detroit Tigers have played across 118 MLB seasons, including 2022. During that span, 15 seasons have seen the Tigers at a winning percentage below .400.


2022 is one such season.


Entering 2022, the Tigers showed promise as a playoff contender, and rightfully so. Key free agents Eduardo Rodriguez and Andrew Chafin signed with the team, though the off-season was capped off by the signing of star shortstop Javier Baez.


Baez, a second-place finisher in National League MVP voting following the 2018 season, amassed 31 home runs over 138 games played in 2021. He was a high-ceiling infielder expected to sign with a contender, though agreed to a 6 year deal worth $140 million with the Tigers in November of 2021.


The Tigers also made a few trades, acquiring veteran catcher Tucker Barnhart from Cincinnati and outfielder Austin Meadows from the Rays.


Combining these new contenders with top-10 MLB  prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, the Tigers began brewing up a storm in an American League Central that looked up for grabs prior to Opening Day.


So why have the Tigers played  historically bad baseball all year?


With multiple pitchers landing on the Tigers’ 60-day injured list near the season’s beginning, the team was faced with immediate hardships. 


Over their first 30 games, the Tigers had a subpar 9-21 record. To their credit, the Tigers had to face powerhouse teams, such as the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees in that span, accounting for 8 of their losses over 10 such games.


As the season progressed, however, the Tigers somehow began showing less promise.


The Tigers entered the August 2nd trade deadline with a 41-63 record, which essentially guaranteed the team to ship off key players for young prospects, thus beginning a (hopefully) more successful rebuild.


Despite this, the Tigers made two trades across the entire deadline.


After shipping pitcher Michael Fulmer to the Twins for minor league pitcher Sawyer Gipson-Long, the Tigers sent outfielder Robbie Grossman to Atlanta for another young arm, Kris Anglin.


Had the team included either player in a trade even two months prior, the returns would have been much more significant. However, after both players had rough seasons, the Tigers couldn’t swing much more than B-tier pitchers.


As the season enters its final two months, the Tigers have all eyes set on next season. With their farm system ranked at #22, there isn’t much hope beyond their current roster’s ability. However, 2 of their top 5 prospects represent upgrades to their infield, and should see MLB playing time within the next two seasons.


With a healthy starting rotation and lineup, the Tigers’ roster looks fierce. It’s simply a matter of connecting the pieces and staying healthy as the season progresses.