Their World Series colossal flop nevertheless, the Detroit Tigers still turned in a banner season in 2012.
They didn't run away with anything like some predicted after they signed free agent Prince Fielder before the season. In fact, the Tigers struggled at times, needing a late season surge to get past the Chicago White Sox and make the postseason.
But they won the ALDS and ALCS to get to the World Series. That was something all other Major League clubs besides the eventual champion San Francisco Giants would have loved to achieve.
The Giants simply played flawless baseball in the Fall Classic. Pitching, hitting, fielding - they did it all, sometimes making it look easy.
The Tigers just got cold at the wrong time. Maybe the extended layoff they had between the ALCS and the Series was a factor.
But while their starting pitching was good, save for Justin Verlander's uncharacteristic poor performance in Game 1, the Tigers' hitting was abysmal.
Only Omar Infante and Austin Jackson showed much at the plate. Fielder was horrible and the other Tigers - including Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera - weren't much better.
What do the Tigers do know?
They've already locked up manager Jim Leyland for another season. They have also exercised options on shortstop Jhonny Peralta and reliever Octavio Dotel for 2013.
For next season, the Tigers must:
Rookies Andy Dirks and Quintin Berry have some talent from the left side, but both have limited power, if any. And rookie Avisail Garcia is too raw a talent to be an everyday outfielder.
Cabrera isn't going to turn in a 2013 season like the one he just posted. And Peralta and catcher Bobby Avila must hit better than they did this season.
Designated hitter/catcher Victor Martinez, who sat out all season with a knee injury, will be a valuable player if he returns with the skill(s) he exhibited in 2011.
The Tigers don't need a major overhaul. They just need to add a piece or two to the lineup and get better production from players who turned in sub-par seasons in 2012.
It will be interesting to see what Tigers' president/general manager Dave Dombrowski does during the offseason.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com