It's been a slow, painful ride, but the Detroit Tigers have managed to defy all odds and handed over the division title tonight in Minnesota. No team had ever blown a three game lead with four games to go until the Tigers did this season.
But, the past is the past, and there is no reason to reminisce about the less-than-stellar 2009 Tigers campaign any longer. We must look to the future and fill in some major voids that were apparent down the stretch.
First of all, it is my firm belief that Jim Leyland must be out as the team's manager. What he was able to do with this team was very impressive and he should be a strong candidate for manager of the year, but the team simply collapsed down the stretch and the team looked dead offensively.
The turmoil that has taken place within the team in the last few weeks has shown that this team needs something to stimulate the clubhouse and bringing in new blood is definitely a way to do so.
Along with new management, this team needs to take a serious look at the bottom of the batting order.
You can't have three guys hovering between the .230 and .240 marks. There's just no way to win baseball games when they are deemed as automatic outs. It was apparent tonight in Gerald Laird's performance that stellar defense is not going to suffice.
This team needs a new catcher and the farm system is not the method of choice. Trading for a catcher would be beneficial to this team, if the deal is right.
Along with a catcher, the Tigers need to address the shortstop position. Everett and Santiago are both adequate defensively, but there will be better options via free agency or trade.
Speaking of free agency, the Tigers may want to begin talks with Placido Polanco soon, because Scott Sizemore is not going to help this team contend. A short-term deal would be beneficial for both Polanco and the Tigers.
And then, there's Brandon Inge. He's definitely a defensive specialist, and while I don't think the Tigers are going to trade for another third baseman, he's not my first choice for now or the long-term.
They need to address the long-term third base replacement for Inge within the farm system so that when Inge's time is up, we will have a replacement ready.