If the expression that speed kills applied to anyone it would directly apply to the Detroit Tigers. For years the Tigers were a team that ran slower than a elderly softball league, and while there are still some players who you could probably outrun in a potato sack, the Tigers now for the first time in nearly a decade have some runners that can actually run without needing oxygen assistance afterwards. That’s a pretty big deal in a sport that requires speed and agility.
When you mix the recent additions of Jose Iglesias, Rajai Davis, Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler in with Austin Jackson you finally start to see the makings of a lineup that doesn’t have to hit the ball over the fence to get past first base. When you take out Prince Fielder obviously your team’s base running is going to be faster and the hot dog eating rates are going to suffer, but with the new faces in the Tigers’ lineup now pitchers can’t have a picnic on the mound while mockingly throwing to first base. Now the Tigers first base coach doesn’t have to waive a doughnut in front of the runner to entice him to run. The Tigers have speed, and it’s the type of speed Sandra Bullock would be jealous of.
So what does this all mean to the Tigers? It means that finally their offense has balance; finally the Tigers are a multidimensional threat that come playoff time can win games in multiple ways. The power is always going to be there as long as Miguel Cabrera has a pulse, but the moves this offseason finally addressed a problem that has been an ongoing issue longer than Kirstie Alley’s weight. That’s a long time coming.