Friday, May 20, 2011

Tigers Ought to Pull Out All Stops and Win the AL Central

If there ever was a year where the AL Central was for the taking, it's this year.

Take a look at the standings.

The Minnesota Twins, often the division's kings, are playing like court jesters. The Chicago White Sox, though showing signs of life, are still five games below .500. The Kansas City Royals are already fading after their surprising start.

And the Cleveland Indians? Still too early for me to buy what the Tribe is selling.

It's all there for the Tigers. They'll never find a storm as perfect as this one to seize their first divisional flag since 1987.

And that's what they ought to do.

It's wonderfully timed in that this opportunity coincides with the expiring contracts of GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland. Never again will these two men be in this situation---their fates undetermined while the division is up for grabs.

Owner Mike Ilitch, who isn't getting any younger, better be presented with proposed moves to sign off on, involving players outside of the organization. Because the Tigers, as they are now, cannot win the division simply by showing up and willing it to happen.

There are too many holes to stand pat, but they can be band-aided over.

Mortgage the future, I say. Go for it now. Never again will the chance be this good.

When else will the Twins and the White Sox be this down, in the same year? Those were the teams that the so-called experts---me included---figured would be the Tigers' main competition. Well, look at them now. And look at the Tigers.

The Tigers are 22-21, on a three-game losing streak in a maddening year of streakiness, good and bad. They tease us with clutch hitting and good pitching, then retreat back to remedial baseball---losing baseball.

Still, they are the best team in the division right now, if only for their supreme starting pitching. But that pitching needs help---both from the back end of the bullpen, re: the 8th inning set up man, and from the hitters.

The Tigers play with a third baseman who's hitting .200, a second baseman that still has question marks, and only one-third of an outfield that is somewhat reliable. Even the stud, Miguel Cabrera, is scuffling.

But it's all there, the division. The Tigers won't have a better chance to grab it than right now. It's their only pure chance of making the playoffs. The Wild Card is unlikely to come from the Central.

So they ought to go out and do it. The Tigers ought to do whatever it takes to win this thing. Trade Jacob Turner, trade Andy Oliver if you have to.

Just win the damn thing now, when you have this good of an opportunity.


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