Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
I think when spring training broke, there was no question the Tigers felt they had a World Series caliber team. And realistically, returning a nucleus that got there last year, the organization had every reason to be optimistic. But there were probably ten other teams that could have made the same claim, and few would have believed the Colorado Rockies would have been one of those ten. If everything went right for the Tigers, there's no reason to think they couldn't have been there - but injuries took a toll on the roster, a few key players like Jeremy Bonderman under-performed, and the depth just wasn't there to step up and pick up the slack. If the '06 season was a magical one where everything fell into place, 2007 can be marked as the year where the Tigers were never able to get going on all cylinders, and that is why they've been watching the postseason from home.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
On paper, I think the Tigers had enough talent to compete for and possibly win the World Series. They just didn't have the durability. They had a top five shortstop, a top five second baseman, a top five center fielder, and a top five player period in Magglio Ordonez. The were projected to have one of the best rotations in baseball, and a talented bullpen capable of shutting teams down in the late innings. When you combine all that; you have a championship caliber club. Unfortunately, while all those studs on offense held up their end of the bargain, the pitching did not. Injuries on the staff killed any chance at competing for the Division, let alone the World Series. With health heading into spring training, the Tigers are once again likely to be among the favorites to make the playoffs and have a shot at the title; will health be on their side in 2008?
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think at the outset of Spring Training, the Tigers had the pieces in place to make a return run to the Fall Classic, but by the end of the season, injuries and the lack of production from the bullpen and bottom of the order had taken them out of title contention. Joel Zumaya never made it back 100% back from his injury, Kenny Rogers pitched sparingly due to a pair of injuries, and Jeremy Bonderman wasn't pitching due to elbow problems. The offense was also hampered down the stretch by Gary Sheffield's shoulder problem. When you couple these set backs (and other injuries) with the down years from Pudge Rodriguez, Brandon Inge, Sean Casey, and Craig Monroe, you have a team that came up short this year. If the Tigers are successful in making the necessary tweaks they need in the offseason, they will be in contention in 2008.
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