I'm a clandestine A's fan at heart, but I'll be pulling hard for the Tigers. I love the underdog. You love the underdog. And allow me to be the first person to ever write that America loves the underdog. But that ain't it. Scrappy overacheiving can only go so far. I want the Tigers to win for the purely selfish reason that it would give me hope the Giants aren't that far away from a contender.
In 2003, the Tigers were one of the worst teams in baseball history. Baseball Prospectus 2004 had a great look at the Tigers that concluded they were the worst team in history without an excuse. They weren't an expansion team. They weren't dismantled by a greedy owner. They were just awful, awful, awful. Every member of the bullpen was 2006 Jack Taschner. Every position player was Lance Niekro. Just about every member of the rotation was worse than Jamey Wright.
The blueprint of the pitching staff that had the lowest ERA this year, though, gives hope for the Giants next year, much less some intangible future season:
Softish-throwing lefty who relies on guile
Former #1 pick from just a year ago, already taking apart the league
But I'm looking for that glimmer of hope found in an unexpected playoff team. The lineup isn't exactly filled with top prospects from a deep farm system, either:
C: Free agent signing
3B: Farm System
LF: Waiver claim
CF: Farm System
RF: Free agent
- Sign two injury-prone veterans for tens of millions, and hope they stay healthy for the same season you end up contending.
- Build the infield with ridiculously lopsided trades. Brad Hennessey for Jose Reyes, which would free the Mets to sign Rich Aurilia, for example.
- Have other teams give you youngish outfielders like Marcus Thames and Craig Monroe. My tip: Ask nicely.
- Get a couple of them 103-mph-throwin' dudes for the bullpen. They're cool.
Also, the Cardinals and Mets will play some games. Good for them!