Detroit Tigers 2016 Season Recap

The Detroit Tigers had big expectations heading into the 2016 season. They signed Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton this past offseason, each to $100+ million contracts. The front office also traded for relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and center fielder Cameron Maybin. The total Opening Day payroll for the Tigers was just shy of $206 million and was the fourth highest in all of Major League Baseball. The high payroll makes the outcome of the season all the more disappointing.

The Tigers were in contention for a playoff spot until the final weekend, but wound up 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays for a Wild Card berth. Detroit did finish second in the American League Central. The Cleveland Indians, however, won the division by a comfortable eight games. Detroit finished with a record of 86-75, but missed out on the ultimate goal of a deep October run.

Detroit Tigers 2016 Season Recap

MVP: Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera is no stranger to MVP awards, and he was the best player for the Tigers this season. Cabrera led the Tigers in many statistical categories including hits (188), home runs (38), RBI (108), and total bases (335). He posted a slash line of .316/.393/.563 and an OPS of .956, each of which was tops for Detroit. Cabrera was named to his seventh-straight All-Star Game as a Tiger. He appeared in 158 and was the consistent force that Tigers fans have come to trust in.

Biggest Disappointment: Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann did not live up to the hype through his first season in Detroit. He struggled to a 9-7 record and a 4.87 ERA while appearing in just 19 games. The down year can mainly be attributed to injuries. Zimmermann was limited by a groin injury and two trips to the disabled list. Freak injuries can happen to anyone, but there is no denying that the Tigers paid handsomely for Zimmermann’s services. Detroit simply must have a better, and healthier, 2017 season from their $110 million pitcher.

Biggest Surprise: Michael Fulmer

Rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer is a big reason why the Tigers stayed in playoff contention down the stretch. The 23-year-old right hander was Detroit’s most effective starter behind Justin Verlander. Fulmer posted a record of 11-7 over 26 starts. He finished second on the team in innings pitched (159), ERA (3.06), and WHIP (1.119) and finished third with 132 strikeouts. Fulmer had a fantastic rookie season and should provide a boost to an aging rotation. He also has a shot to become the first Tigers player to win Rookie of the Year since Verlander won the award in 2006.

Looking Forward to 2017

Detroit was a competitive team in 2016, but big changes could be on the way. General Manager Alex Avila recently indicated the team was not successful enough this season. It is unclear what will be done this offseason but it does appear something is bound to change in the Motor City. Though manager Brad Ausmus is returning for the 2017 season, he might find himself on a short leash should the team not get off to a strong start.

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