Hinch vows to re-establish Tigers as 'winning franchise'
The Detroit Tigers are ready to start winning again, and they plan on doing so as early as next year.
"We're going to re-establish ourselves as a winning franchise and develop a winning culture," manager A.J. Hinch said when asked about the team's potential pursuit of free agents this winter, according to Even Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. "If you want to be a part of it, then you'll come. If you don't, then we'll beat you."
The Tigers enter the weekend with a relatively respectable 62-67 record, 12 1/2 games back of the division lead in the non-competitive AL Central.
The team's position players have struggled this year, with FanGraphs WAR cumulatively ranking them 29th in all of baseball. Meanwhile, the club's rotation ranks 20th, with young starters Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, and Matt Manning still adjusting to the big leagues.
The Tigers need to address holes almost everywhere on the diamond, and the impending free-agent class is loaded with star shortstops. That includes Carlos Correa, who won a championship under Hinch with the Houston Astros. Former Tigers pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are also slated to hit the open market.
The team currently ranks 23rd in payroll, with $85.5 million going to players, according to Spotrac.
Detroit hasn't produced a winning season since 2016, and the Tigers haven't made the playoffs since 2014.