Team 109: The 2003 Tigers

Blake VandeBunteContributor IOctober 27, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 4: Fans peer over the wall into the Chicago White Sox dugout during a rain delay for the home opener against the Detroit Tigers on April 4, 2003 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Year: 2003
  • Record: 43-119 (worst Tigers record of all-time)
  • Win %: .265 (worst)
  • Win % Change: -77 from the year before
  • Run Differential: -337 (worst for a Tigers team)
  • Pythagorean Record: 49-113
  • AL Finish: 14th of 14 teams
  • Manager: Alan Trammell
  • Best Transaction: On May 22nd, the Tigers signed Jair Jurrjens as a free agent.  Jurrjens didn’t play full-time in the big leagues until 2008, but the Tigers got this one right.  Just try to forget that they later traded him away.
  • Worst Transaction:  This club was not only awful, but they ate a lot of money.  The Tigers released both Damion Easley and Craig Pauquette.  Each player was still owed millions of dollars.  In Easley’s case, he was the most expensive player ever cut at the time of his release.
  • Upper: Dmitri Young was a bright spot on an historically awful team.  Young was in his second season in Detroit and his first full season.  Even though the team was terrible, Young suited up for 155 games and took the team’s Triple Crown (led club in HR, RBI, AVG).  He also posted an OPS+ of 144, the tenth best mark in the American League.
  • Downer:  I would say the losses were a pretty big downer.  The Tigers were a national sports story all year long.  They had to rally down the stretch to avoid 120 losses, the worst mark of all-time.  They ended up winning five of their final six games to avoid the record.  There were too many individual downers to count here, so this big one has to take the cake.
  • Summary:  This season started bad and they never turned it around.  They started the season with records of 0-9, 1-17, and 2-19.  When you’re 2-19 on April 25th, it’s tough to think things will get any better.  At the All-Star break the Tigers were 25-67.  In games decided by five or more runs, the Tigers were usually on the bad side, going 7-40 in those games.  Ramon Santiago was the club’s starting SS and he posted an OPS+ of 59.  Shane Halter and his .217 batting average got nearly 400 plate appearances and ol’ Mike Maroth lost 21 games.  Jeremy Bonderman would have easily lost 20 games had he not been shut down early.  He still finished with 19 losses.  No good way to frame this season, just a total disaster.

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