Which Detroit team will be next to win a championship?

3 of 5

View image | gettyimages.com

Detroit Tigers

Case for: The Tigers finally admitted to the need for a rebuild in 2017 as the team cratered to a 68-win season that saw players like Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton traded away. It was partially a cleansing of the payroll, and in the case of Martinez a chance to acquire some assets for a player who would be departing in free agency, but it also provided a much-needed influx of talent into the organization’s farm system.

It remains to be seen how many of the prospects acquired prior to the 2017 trade deadline (and subsequent deadlines during the rebuild) will turn into headlining players for the team going forward but at least Minor League depth is finally being addressed. On paper it would seem the Tigers have the makings of a full new starting rotation gaining experience in the Minor Leagues. If that comes to pass, the Tigers could be on a fast track back to contention.

The Tigers’ declining payroll is certainly a story after they were among the game’s biggest spenders late in Mike Ilitch’s tenure as owner but there is no reason the payroll has to bottom out at the level of a Tampa Bay Rays or Oakland Athletics. As the bloated contracts for aging stars fall off the books, there will be resources available to allocate more appropriately.

Some young talent reaching the majors at the same time the club could spend on free agents was a big part of the last championship window opening in 2006 and could be the case again as the decade turns.

Case against: If the 2010s end without a championship in Detroit it will be the Tigers teams of the decade that fans will look back on with the most regret. There was the World Series loss to the San Francisco Giants in 2012 followed by an ALCS collapse against the Boston Red Sox in 2013 as two prime shots at a title resulted in nothing but shattered dreams.

The Tigers tried to cling to championship aspirations in the years that followed but that did nothing but delay the inevitable. The Tigers’ championship window was slammed shut and the rebuild had to begin in earnest.

That’s where the Tigers now find themselves but questions remain as to if the rebuild will work of if the team is destined to sink back in to the perpetual re-build the franchise was stuck in prior to Mike Ilitch sinking a silly amount of money into his ball club.

Maybe it will work but the Tigers are unlikely to spend at previous levels and they haven’t had much success developing players, particularly position players, in their farm system. There is some reason for hope, but maybe not enough to bet on the Tigers being the next Detroit team to warrant a championship parade down Woodward.