The worst team in baseball is taking steps to improve on its catastrophic 2019 season. Those steps have been small…but they’re probably steps in the right direction.
Detroit can use anything and everything it can get. The humiliation that was their 2019 season renders a conservative Hot Stove approach indefensible: They lost 114 games, finished 53½ games behind Minnesota, and were hands-down the worst team in baseball. While the Tigers aren’t spree spending like the White Sox, they’ve made small improvements.
Jonathan Schoop is a clear second base upgrade who comes to Detroit on a one-year contract and hit 23 homers, drove in 59 runs and slashed .256/.304/.473 for the Twins last season. He’ll replace Gordan Beckham and Josh Harrison, who shared second for the Tigers and hit a combined .200. The club hopes Schoop returns to 2017 All-Star form when he clubbed 21 homers, had 105 RBI’s and hit .293 for Baltimore.
C.J. Cron gives the Tigers a power-hitting option at first base and DH and would be an upgrade over Brandon Dixon, who assumed the first base job when Miguel Cabrera moved to DH last season. He can spell Cabrera if needed. An average defender, his prime value lies in a bat the Tigers can use. He’s hit 55 homers over the past two seasons and averages almost 20 per year.
The signing of Austin Romine provides more bench strength. He’s a serviceable backup catcher who can also play first. He hit .281 for the Yankees last season.
An underwhelming Tiger move was the signing of Zack Godley, whose 15-11 2018 season with Arizona was by far his best big league effort; his eight wins in 2017 are his second-best total and he went a cumulative 4-5 with a 5.97 ERA (75 ERA+) with Arizona and Toronto last season.
Unlike Chicago, the Tigers haven’t made sweeping improvements; their additions to date are small steps. They need to do more, but their direction is correct.