Four straight wins to kick off the second half later, and the Tigers have remained one of the hottest teams in baseball, despite their skid leading into the All-Star break.
However, with the best record in the American League, the White Sox have the division all but mathematically secured. Furthermore, the Tigers still find themselves a daunting 9.5 games out of a Wild Card spot with less than two weeks until the trade deadline.
Make no mistake about it the Tigers continue to stack wins at an impressive clip, all with a seemingly empty cupboard. Manager AJ Hinch might not be an unsung hero, as Tigers fans and media have passionately sung his praises, but the results produced from the product on the field should place Hinch in discussions for Manager Of the Year.
Yet despite their continued success, the Tigers won’t be buyers come July 31st. They have to overcome too much at a price too steep, just to contend for a postseason position. But this doesn’t mean they will be sellers, nor should they.
They’ve already made moves to position themselves to continue to compete well into August/September.
To begin the second half, the Tigers called up Derek Hill and Isaac Parades, while DFA’ing Nomar Mazara. Long overdue moves.
Mazara’s demotion is a surprise to nobody. His production, both in the field and at the plate, was abysmal while also taking away a roster spot from pieces expected to be in the Tigers’ next window.
Enter Derek Hill.
Hill’s offensive struggles have been well-documented ever since the Tigers selected him 23rd overall in 2014. Fortunately for him, he doesn’t need to hit. Hill’s defensive prowess along with his elite speed will provide a necessary asset for a young pitching staff in the expansive outfield of Comerica Park. Any offensive provided will be a net bonus.
The team we see take the field right now will likely be the group AJ Hinch will ride out the rest of the year with (Unless Riley Greene continues to demolish minor league pitching).
If Detroit can find themselves in the thick of a playoff hunt nearing the end of the season without sacrificing any of their poker chips, they will have vastly exceeded even their expectations.
At this point, it’s evaluation time for AJ Hinch and the front office to see which pieces will remain in the Tigers foundation for their next exciting window.