On their way to the World Series, the Detroit Tigers faced the difficult task of winning the AL Central division. The race for the division came down to the wire with the Chicago White Sox and ultimately the Tigers made it into the 2012 MLB Playoffs. A recent trade by the Cleveland Indians may have a big impact on the Tigers’ quest for three straight AL Central titles.
The Indians completed a huge nine person trade with two other teams. The key elements for the Indians were trading away outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and receiving back outfielder Drew Stubbs and starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. Two relievers, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, were also acquired through the trade.
The trade could have a huge negative impact on the Tigers in several ways. The Indians should have a stronger roster, in turn posting a better record. Last year, the Tigers were one of only two teams in the AL Central to post a winning record. Here is a look at 2012 records:
Detroit’s biggest impact by the Indians last year was the team’s failure to beat their divisional rivals. The Indians were the only team in the AL Central that had a winning record against the Tigers. Here is a look at how the Tigers fared against all of their divisional competition:
- Vs. Indians 8-10
- Vs. Royals 13-5
- Vs. Twins 10-8
- Vs. White Sox 12-6
The Indians are expected to use Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jiminez at the top of their rotation. Both of these Indians pitchers had 2-2 records against the Tigers. Bauer is expected to start at some point in the Indians rotation and will strengthen the team.
While analysts are praising the trade for the Indians, the Tigers should be worried heading into 2013. The Indians, now led by manager Terry Francona, could bring intense competition for the AL Central. In the offseason, the Tigers have strengthened their lineup by bringing in Torii Hunter and several other players. However, the Indians strengthening their lineup could lead them to once again beating the Tigers in their 18 divisional games next year.