The Detroit Tigers will miss the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season this year, the longest postseason drought of any MLB team. Despite that and a seventh straight losing season for Detroit, Tigers manager AJ Hinch says the organization is moving in the right direction.
“It's not the same speech because we're in a completely different place now than where we were,” Hinch said, via Evan Petzold. “Where we're at right now, I think we're getting closer and closer to fulfilling what the fans deserve.”
The speech Hinch is referring to is one he gave to the Tigers last Friday, the day they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. He's given such a speech in each of his three seasons in Detroit.
The Tigers should feel more optimistic about the franchise's direction moving forward than they did at the end of last season. Detroit won 66 games in 2022 and had five players with a WAR above one according to Baseball Reference.
The 2023 Tigers have 73 wins with six games to play and 10 players with a WAR above one. That doesn’t include Spencer Torkelson, who leads the team with 29 home runs and 88 RBIs.
Additionally, players like Riley Greene and Kerry Carpenter proved to be ready for the big leagues, taking a big leap from their debut seasons in 2022.
The hiring of AJ Hinch, a World Series-winning manager, was seen as a huge win for the Tigers. Three seasons in, Detroit has yet to have a winning season with the former Houston Astros skipper. He thinks that can change next season and hopes to be part of the turnaround.