These days, being a Tigers fan requires a full prescription of anti-anxiety meds and a blindfold. First, there was the slew of injuries, with Dirks, Iglesias and Rondon each going down for most or all of the year, giving Detroiters severe indigestion. Sure, taken alone, none one of those guys represents a major subtraction from the teamâ€™s outlook for the year. But as a group, their losses could represent a major blow.
It was enough for me to start doubting the take-it-for-granted nature of the Tigers’ run at the AL Central crown and playoff berth, if for no other reason than it seemed to signal a run of bad luck whose portent seemed ominous, to say the least.
The rash of injuries was followed by an odd development in the Scherzer extension talks. Apparently, Mad Max turned down a Cole Hamels-esque contract in the 6-year, $144 million range. And it didnâ€™t end there, as the team issued a written hissy fit, wherein the front office whined about Scherzer not accepting the lucrative deal. It certainly was odd, considering that the team is usually fairly tight-lipped about these kinds of developments. So, when the odd release came out it was like a shit cherry on top of the crap sundae that was the month of March.
Then came Thursdayâ€™s big news. Late in the afternoon reports broke that the team had signed Miguel Cabrera to a zillion dollar contract that will keep him under team control until heâ€™s wearing adult diapers.
At first, the sabre-minded side of my brainâ€™s reacted with an audible gasp. $30+ million a year? Until heâ€™s 40? Yikes. That sounds like a recipe for disaster. But then I settled down and realized that, hey, it ainâ€™t my money, and how do you put a price on having a guy go into the Hall of Fame wearing your favorite teamâ€™s cap? It might be hard for the Tigers to put together a consistent winner with two players – Cabrera and Verlander – taking up one third of the entire payroll, but at the same time, having those guys virtually guarantees that they will remain competitive for the next three or four years at least.
The sum total of these developments is… well, I donâ€™t know what the sum total of these developments is. I guess it looks like their chances of getting into the playoffs this year are still looking pretty good. Although, itâ€™s going to take A LOT of breaks for them to win that ever elusive World Series title.
For now, though, Iâ€™m just going to try to let it go. The season is about to begin, and that means itâ€™s time to stop the endless chumming of the prognosticating waters. We can just settle in and enjoy real baseball again.
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