Detroit Tigers: 10 Best Players of the 2000s

Joe WatsonCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2012

Detroit Tigers: 10 Best Players of the 2000s

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    The Detroit Tigers have been up and down throughout the 2000s.  

    In 2002, the Tigers posted a 55-106 record.  Then, in 2003, the Tigers went 43-119.  Things could not have been worse in Detroit.

    However, the franchise turned it all around in 2006.  The Tigers went 95-67, won the AL Wild Card and earned a trip to the World Series.

    Since 2006, the Tigers have posted records of .500 or better in every year except 2008.

    This slideshow highlights the 10 best players for the Detroit Tigers since 2000.  It includes individuals that played when the Tigers were awful and those who played when the Tigers were playoff contenders.

    Honorable Mention: Dmitri Young, Jose Valverde, Todd Jones, Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, Armando Galarraga, Rick Porcello and Austin Jackson

10. Max Scherzer

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    While Max Scherzer has spent only two years in Detroit, his potential value to the Tigers cannot go unnoticed.

    Max has posted a 27-20 record with a 3.96 ERA.  While these numbers are not phenomenal, Scherzer has shown that he has the potential to be an ace for the Tigers in years to come.

9. Brandon Inge

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    Brandon Inge did everything for the Detroit Tigers.  Inge has caught and played third base and the outfield for Detroit.

    Inge has spent 11 seasons in Detroit.  In those seasons, Inge has posted a .235 batting average with 139 home runs and 587 RBIs. 

    While his numbers aren't stellar, Inge has remained a constant in the Tigers lineup.  He has been the backbone of the Tigers since 2001.

8. Bobby Higginson

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    Bobby Higginson spent his entire 11-year career with the Tigers.  He was a constant in the heart of the Tigers' lineup.

    In 2000, Higginson posted the best season of his career.  He hit .300 with 30 homers and 102 RBIs.  Bobby even swiped 15 bases in 2000.

    Having finished his career as a lifetime .272 hitter, a list of Tiger greats could not be complete without Higginson.

7. Placido Polanco

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    Placido Polanco spent five seasons in Detroit (2006-2009).  Over that span, Polanco posted a .311 batting average.

    His best season was 2007 when he hit .341 with nine home runs and 67 RBIs.

    Polanco also won two Gold Gloves while in a Tigers uniform.

6. Ivan Rodriguez

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    Pudge spent four very productive seasons with the Tigers.  Ivan Rodriguez was an All-Star each year and won three Gold Gloves.

    Pudge hit .298 while in a Tigers uniform.  His best season in Detroit was 2004 when he hit .334 with 19 home runs and 86 RBIs.

5. Curtis Granderson

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    Curtis Granderson spent his first six seasons in Detroit (2004-2009).  During that time, Tigers fans watched Granderson grow into an MLB star.

    His best season in Detroit was 2007.  Granderson led the AL in triples (23) while posting a .302 batting average.  He also hit 23 home runs, drove in 74 runs and stole 26 bases in 27 attempts.

    A lifetime .267 hitter, Granderson's presence in Detroit will be missed by the Tigers faithful. 

4. Carlos Guillen

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    Carlos Guillen joined the Tigers in 2004 and has been a force in the lineup ever since.

    In Guillen's first three seasons with Detroit, he hit .318, .320 and .320, respectively.  

    Over Guillen's time in Detroit, he has hit .297 with 95 home runs and 449 RBIs.

3. Magglio Ordonez

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    Magglio Ordonez left the White Sox to join the Detroit Tigers in 2005.  The White Sox are wishing they kept Ordonez.

    In Detroit, Ordonez has hit .312 with 107 home runs and 533 RBIs in six seasons.  

    Furthermore, Ordonez finished second in the MVP voting in 2006 when he hit .364 with 28 home runs and 139 RBIs.  Magglio led the AL in batting average and doubles (54) that season.

    While he's nearing the end of his phenomenal career, there is no denying the production of Ordonez in a Tigers uniform.

2. Miguel Cabrera

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    Miguel Cabrera has only spent four seasons in Detroit, but has been an MVP-caliber player in each of those.

    As a Tiger, Cabrera has averaged 35 home runs, 115 RBIs and a .322 batting average per year.  He has also finished in the Top 5 of the MVP voting each of the last three seasons.

    Cabrera was instrumental in the signing of Prince Fielder by agreeing to switch back to third base.

1. Justin Verlander

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    Justin Verlander started his career with the Tigers in 2005.  In seven years with the Tigers, Verlander has established himself as one of baseball's best pitchers.

    Verlander has posted a 107-57 record with a 3.54 ERA with the Tigers.  That is an average of 18 wins per season.  

    In 2009 and 2011, Verlander led the American League in both strikeouts and innings pitched.  

    Justin also took home the 2011 AL MVP and AL Cy Young Award.  Verlander has become the face of the Detroit Tigers and an easy choice for the No. 1 spot.