The NFL season starts this week. And ESPN is already prepping its Monday night showcase of having multiple Manning brothers commentating the game while eating food or lying down or something fun. And then Peyton and Cooper are still hosting their game show on NBC. And I assume Archie is probably doing something lucrative as well. It's generally a good time to be named Manning.
...Except if you're Matt Manning, and you're stuck pitching in Detroit with little to no help.
The Tigers, even with all the contracts, have been notoriously bad. Only three players have a WAR higher than 1, and while one of them is, in fact, Javier Baez, one of the other two, Tarik Skubal, is injured, and the other one is Erik Haase, who was supposed to be just a backup piece all year. Everybody else, including all the rookies, and especially all of the starters, have been underperforming. You have Riley Greene, Jeimer Candelario, Spencer Torkelson and Jonathan Schoop on this team and none of them are really exciting people. Greene is getting there, and could be a standout next year, but he's bogged down with the mediocrity of this team.
And then you have Manning, who was injured for most of the year, coming back to Tarik Skubal gone, Peralta and Pineda DFA'd, DREW HUTCHISON being relied upon for innings, and people like Tyler Alexander having to start games. The good news is Eduardo Rodriguez is finally back, and he returned in a way that I didn't even know he was back until JUST NOW, but even he's not at peak Eddie form right now. Manning, to his credit, has a 3.86 ERA and 35 Ks in 9 starts, but just one young starter alone isn't enough. Joey Wentz is up and starting and he's not doing too memorably either. And you can go 'oh, if we get Mize, Skubal, Manning, Brieske and Rodriguez all healthy next year it'll be great' but then something else will go wrong.
Here's how I sum up this team. Ryan Kreidler has been up for 7 games and he's already ninth in WAR on this team. Being up for 7 games, playing great defense and hitting .250 makes you more valuable to the team than Tucker Barnhart, Eduardo Rodriguez or Jonathan Schoop.
I wanna believe it'll be better next season but I thought this season would be an improvement. And now that Detroit has Lions fever, another losing Tigers season is gonna be even more heartbreaking. Hopefully this team can do something, or else they're gonna be irrelevant for a while longer.
Coming Tonight [?]: A starter just trying to get innings in for a very weak team.