The recent addition of Prince Fielder has elevated the Tigers status in the eyes of many as a favorite to win the World Series in 2012. After a near miss last season, the Fielder signing has also increased the pressure within the organization to complete the job. 1984 is becoming a distant memory.
When Mike Ilitch opened his wallet to steal Fielder away from several perceived favorites, it signaled a willingness to do whatever it takes to bring a championship to Detroit. Preferably, sooner rather than later. Like, this year.
Yet, the window for the Tigers to win a title may not be as small as some think. The Tigers will be an elite team in 2012, but also in the foreseeable future.
Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta are All-Stars. Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister, Austin Jackson and Delmon Young have All-Star potential. Each and every one of these players also have one thing in common, they are all under the age 30. The three elite talents, Verlander, Cabrera and Fielder are all under contract for at least the next three years.
With a number of pitching prospects and third baseman Nick Castellanos on the horizon, and the return of Victor Martinez next season, the Tigers are in good shape for the foreseeable future. The desire to win now is high though, and it should be. Regardless of how good the Tigers will be for the next several seasons, you only get so many chances to win a World Series. A sense of urgency should be present. If it happens in 2012, great. If it doesn’t, Tigers fans should still feel good about their chances for the next five years.
The organization is in tremendous shape thanks in large part to the willingness of Mr. Ilitch to spend money. However, Dave Dombrowski and Al Avila have done a fabulous job of keeping this team on the radar after a decade’s of playoff-less summers in the Motor City. The Tigers were a mess in the 90’s. From 1994 to 2001, Detroit finished over .500 just once.
Tigers fans are once again proud of their team. With a core group that has yet to turn 30, they should be proud for some time.