Detroit Tigers: Top Ten Moments of 2012 Season

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Detroit Tigers: Top Ten Stories in 2012

Detroit Tigers Top 10 2012 Moments
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

New Year’s Day is here to start the 2013 season. Even though it is the offseason for MLB, it is time to look back at the Tigers 2012 season and pick out some of the top moments.

The 2012 season was an eventful one for the Detroit Tigers. During the year, the Tigers lost one of their starters before the season even began. The team then went out and made one of the biggest free agency signings in team history.

The signing of Prince Fielder and a key trade deadline deal helped the Tigers win their second straight AL Central title. Detroit had to fight off the Chicago White Sox and needed key performances from veterans and rookies called up from the minor leagues.

Detroit advanced to the World Series for the second time in six years. The Tigers lost to the Giants in four games, after the Tigers offense failed to show up. During the 2012 season, one Tigers player became the first Triple Crown winner since 1967. Miguel Cabrera won the coveted title after leading the American League in batting average, home runs and RBIs. The race came down to the wire and wasn’t decided until the Tigers last game of the season.

Where do all of these moments rank in the 2012 season? Follow along with a slideshow of the top ten moments of the year. The 2013 season is less than 100 days away and the Tigers are sure to be a World Series favorite once again.

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10. Jim Leyland is Re-Signed

10. Jim Leyland is Re-Signed
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the Detroit Tigers lost the World Series, the team announced they had re-signed manager Jim Leyland. The Tigers skipper will be brought back for the 2013 season with a one year deal. The announcement quieted earlier retirement rumors. Leyland ranks fifteenth all time with 1676 wins amongst MLB managers. Leyland is the current active leader for wins. In seven seasons with the Tigers, Leyland has only one losing season and has helped the team appear in two World Series.

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9. Torii Hunter Signed

9. Torii Hunter Signed
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers made a splash towards their 2013 season with the signing of free agent outfielder Torii Hunter. After the Los Angeles Angels failed to offer Hunter more than $5 million a season, the Tigers were one of several teams that bid on Hunter. The Tigers signed Hunter to a two year $26 million deal. Hunter is a career .277 hitter, who posted a career best .313 in 2012. Hunter is known for his defense, as a nine time Gold Glove winner, who will solidify the Tigers outfield playing in the right field position.

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8. Justin Verlander Almost Cy Young

8. Justin Verlander Almost Cy Young
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander had a dominant 2012 season. The Tigers ace posted a 17-8 record and 239 strikeouts. Verlander led the American League in strikeouts, innings pitched and WAR. Verlander also finished second in WHIP and ERA and posted the fourth highest wins in the AL. Despite this incredible season, Verlander was beaten by David Price in the Cy Young voting. Verlander lost by four points in the closest race since 1969. A win would of given Verlander back to back Cy Young wins.

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7. Trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante

7. Trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Most teams would never trade away their number one pitching prospect. The Detroit Tigers did just that around the 2012 trade deadline. In July, the Tigers traded pitching prospect Jacob Turner, pitching prospect Brian Flynn, and catching prospect Rob Brantly to the Miami Marlins. In return, the Tigers got two pieces they desperately needed to finish a run at an AL Central title. The Tigers got pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante. Sanchez started in 12 games for the Tigers and posted a 4-6 record. Sanchez was impressive in the postseason with a 1.77 era and 0.98 whip in three games. Infante played in 64 games for the Tigers.

Sanchez was recently re-signed by the Tigers in a huge $80 million deal for the next five seasons. The signing makes this trade stronger and should payoff for the Tigers in 2013.

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6. Victor Martinez Injury

6. Victor Martinez Injury
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2012 MLB season began, the Detroit Tigers suffered a major setback. Victor Martinez, the team’s starting designated hitter, suffered an ACL injury. Martinez would miss the entire 2012 season with the injury after a stellar 2011 Tigers season. The injury did remarkably work out well for the Tigers as it led to the signing of free agent Prince Fielder. In 2011, Martinez played in 145 Tigers games and had 103 RBIs and a batting average of .330. Martinez will return in 2013 and provide power hitting to the already potent Tigers lineup.

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5. Prince Fielder Signed by Detroit Tigers

5. Prince Fielder Signed by Detroit Tigers
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the injury to Victor Martinez, the Detroit Tigers decided to make a blockbuster move. The Tigers signed free agent Prince Fielder to a nine year deal worth $214 million. The signing would make Prince the Tigers starting first baseman and shift Miguel Cabrera over to third base. In 2012, Fielder had a career best 162 games played, 182 hits and strikeouts (84). Prince is part of the Tigers nucleus that could send them back to the 2013 World Series. The singing is also one of general manager Dave Dombrowski’s best moves.

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4. Detroit Tigers Win AL Central

4. Detroit Tigers Win AL Central
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With a late season push, the Detroit Tigers once again captured the AL Central title. The Tigers finished with an 88-74 record to finish three games ahead of division rival Chicago White Sox. The Tigers clinched the title with a 6-3 win against the Kansas City Royals on October 2nd. The Tigers won eight of their last ten games.

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3. Miguel Cabrera Wins MVP

3. Miguel Cabrera Wins MVP
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the most hotly debated contests ever, Miguel Cabrera edged out rookie phenom Mike Trout to win the AL MVP. The Detroit Tigers third baseman became the first player to win the Triple Crown since 1967. The argument for the Los Angeles Angels Trout centered around a statistic known as WAR, which values a player’s offense, defense and base running. In the end, Cabrera received 22 of 28 first place votes for 362 points. Trout finished with 281 votes and the other six first place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The win by Cabrera also made it back to back wins for the Tigers after Justin Verlander’s 2011 win.

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2. Miguel Cabrera 2012 Triple Crown Winner

2. Miguel Cabrera 2012 Triple Crown Winner
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, Miguel Cabrera became the first MLB player since Carl Yastrzemski to win the Triple Crown. The Detroit Tigers star broke a 45 year streak of no player being able to lead the league in batting average, runs batted in and home runs. Cabrera had a batting average of .330, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs on the season. The contest would go down to the wire, as Cabrera won home runs by one and batting average by four points.

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1. Detroit Tigers 2012 World Series

1. Detroit Tigers 2012 World Series
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers didn’t get the result they wanted in the 2012 World Series. However, the biggest storyline for the team was the team’s second World Series appearance in six years. All of the Tigers big storylines, including the signing of Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander’s great season, Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown and a trade deadline deal, helped the Tigers advance to the World Series. The team swept the New York Yankees in the ALCS, but were swept in the World Series by the San Francisco Giants. Offense failed to show up in the final MLB Playoffs series, as the Tigers had a batting average of .159, the lowest in a World Series since 1966.

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