The Detroit Tigers have won three straight American League Central titles, as they have sandwiched ALCS eliminations around an AL pennant in 2012 that saw them swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
Despite that recent run of success, they parted ways with a pair of key contributors this offseason, trading Prince Fielder and Doug Fister with an eye on saving money for future extensions for Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera.
Ian Kinsler was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Fielder trade, and he gives the lineup a completely different outlook out of the top spot. The team also signed All-Star closer Joe Nathan and appears ready to turn an everyday job over the Nick Castellanos.
Drew Smyly will move from the bullpen to the rotation to replace Fister, with Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain joining Nathan as newcomers in the bullpen.
Through all of that shuffling, they still look like the team to beat in the AL Central and one of the best all-around teams in the American League. Time will tell if they can get over the hump and win it all this season.
For now, the team is in Lakeland, Fla. preparing for the upcoming season. We'll use the following space to track the latest game results and other key news on a daily basis, so be sure to check back here for all the latest Tigers news leading up to Opening Day.