Here's how I see it. The Tigers have dug themselves a hole that will take them years to crawl out of.
To wit --
Verlander, once an ace, is no more than a journeyman these days with a ridiculous salary. For whatever reason, he no longer even attempts to throw his once-devastating split-finger pitch.
Fulmer has been hailed as great by Detroit pundits, but he's actually little better than average.
Cabrera's triple crown season seems like a long time ago. Of late, his production has nose-dived drastically. Throw in another mega-contract for a player clearly on the back side of his career, and who else would touch him?
Kinsler remains a good, but not great all-around player, but he'll start eroding soon as well.
Waiting for Castellanos to blossom into a force is fool's gold. Ain't gonna happen. He's a .240 hitter and far less than average defensive third baseman.
JD Martinez could hit, but was a defensive liability in rightfield. Now he's gone for prospects that -- well, who knows?
Victor Martinez likely couldn't play for any team but the Tigers. Who needs a 38 year old DH, hitting maybe .250, who is slower than molasses in winter on the basepathes, and can't play a defensive position?
Guys like Romine, Matouk, and Presley are little more than band-aids. The best they can come up with.
Catcher-wise, Avila surprisingly hit well this year, but he's terrible defensively and can't stay healthy. His daddy being the GM certainly works in his favor. A little nepotism anyone? McCann has a great throwing arm but can't hit a lick.
The bullpen remains little more than cannon fodder.
Iglesias is an injury waiting to happen. Always has been.
If there was any doubt about Ausmus lasting beyond this season, it's gone now. He's the lamest of lame ducks, given the Tigers' record, but it's not his fault if he's stuck with a roster of bad news bears players.
The Tigers are now 11 games under .500 and fading fast. Yet I don't see how Avila has many cards to deal.
The farm system was once basically looted in a "go for it now" mentality acquiring short-term free agents. They never got over the hump and the mercenaries have since gone elsewhere.
Yeah, I get it that local scribes are "homers", but it's laughable when they suggest Verlander should have been the Cy Young winner last year with a 16-9 record, while Rick Porcello was chalking up a 22-4 mark for the Bosox. And BTW, what were the Tigers thinking letting that guy, especially considering his young age, get away?
Yep, they've painted themselves into the proverbial corner, and they'll have to pay the price for it in the foreseeable future. The proverbial piper has finally come to collect and he won't be denied.
They're already bad, but this has all the makings of getting uglier than Congress and the White House in years to come.