Almost the only good news for Detroit Tigers fans in 2005 happened at the end of the season. In October it was announced that Jim Leyland was coming out of retirement and had accepted the Tigers managerial position. Leyland is looking to help turn the team’s fortunes for 2006 and beyond, but he will have a lot of work ahead of him. The Tigers managed to win just 71 games total in 2005 with a mediocre record of 71-91. Yet somehow, Motown’s offense was able to score a total of 723 runs, which was just 18 fewer than the World Series champion, the Chicago White Sox. Of course, it didn’t help matters that the Tigers also allowed a total of 787 runs, mostly due to an inconsistent and under-performing pitching staff.
The 2005 offense was led primarily by outfielder Craig Monroe (.277 20 89) and DH Dmitri Young (.271 21 72). Rookie first baseman Chris Shelton (.299 18 59) also provided a much-needed offensive spark with veterans Iván Rodríguez (.276 14 50) and Rondell White (.313 12 53) posting respectable numbers. The remainder of the 2005 offensive production was contributed by third baseman Brandon Inge (.261 16 72) and second baseman Placido Polanco (.338 6 36), who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a midseason trade. .
The Tigers’ starting pitching in 2005 had very few bright spots. Starters Jeremy Bonderman (14-13 4.57) and Mike Maroth (14-14 4.74) managed to combine for a total of 25 wins, while the rest of the starters struggled for much of the season. Both starting pitcher Nate Robertson (7-16 4.48) and Jason Johnson (8-13 4.54) had forgettable performances in 2005. The Tigers used a combination of five different closers with Ugueth Urbina (1-3 2.63 9 saves) making the best. , before being traded midseason to Philadelphia.
For Detroit Tiger fans, the season might not end soon enough.
Removals out of season:
The Detroit Tigers signed left-hander free agent Kenny Rogers (14-8 3.46) to a 2-year, $ 16 million deal in hopes of providing better stability in the starting rotation. The Tigers also signed closer Todd Jones (1-5 2.10 40 saves) from Florida to help improve their bullpen. Jones, a 12-year veteran, experienced a rebirth year with the Florida Marlins by keeping opposing hitters at a .230 batting average and saving a total of 40 games (his highest save total in five years). .
Rogers is an improvement for the starting rotation, as he will bring Jim Leyland out of retirement to help out. Leyland has worked in similar settings before and has shown that he knows how to handle the challenge. The initial rotation is still missing. Detroit raced against a few different free agents this winter, but little materialized. The Tigers have some hits and can score runs. There is some talent in the bullpen, too, but the rotation doesn’t appear to be much stronger than last season (4.85 ERA, 10th in the AL). Fans will have to be very patient as Leyland tries to rebuild from the inside out.