Complete Detroit Tigers 2014 Spring Training Preview

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Complete Detroit Tigers 2014 Spring Training Preview
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers have been kings of the American League Central for the last three years, winning one league pennant in the process but falling short of the ultimate prize each time. 

General manager Dave Dombrowski took a different approach this offseason to hopefully get the Tigers over that last hurdle, trading away Prince Fielder and trying to get more athletic at various positions on the infield. 

Not all of the moves have been dynamite, specifically trading Doug Fister to Washington. The Tigers got decent talent in return, notably left-handed prospect Robbie Ray, but nothing worthy of a top-tier right-handed starter who had two years of control left. 

Even with those changes, Detroit's hallmark has been, and will continue to be in 2014, starting pitching. Max Scherzer emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball last season, winning the AL Cy Young award. Justin Verlander, in a "down" season, had 217 strikeouts in 218.1 innings. 

Anibal Sanchez, always a solid starter with the Marlins, led the AL in ERA (2.57) and averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings last season. 

Oh yeah, two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera is still hitting in the middle of the lineup, and Victor Martinez was up to his old tricks again in 2013, two years removed from knee surgery. 

Even with Cleveland and Kansas City directly in their rear-view mirror, and Minnesota boasting one of the best farm systems in baseball, the Tigers are still the class of this division heading into 2014 with designs of winning a championship for the first time in 30 years. 

With big things expected, here are the biggest stories and questions surrounding the Tigers heading into spring training. 

 

Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. 

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