I was settling into the press box at Progressive Field on Sunday, getting ready to cover the MLB All-Star Futures Game, when I received an email from an angry Detroit Tigers fan.
“As a longtime fan (60 years), I can’t understand how the owner of this organization can sit back and watch it be destroyed with incompetent leadership in the front office,” the fan wrote. “This is not rebuilding but more destroying of a franchise.”
That sums up the feelings of many Tigers fans. They are freaking out. They are frustrated at the losing. Frustrated that Tigers general manager Al Avila just got a multi-year contract extension. And frustrated at, well, losing so badly.
I understand the frustration. This is getting beyond ugly in Detroit. The Tigers, after being swept by the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, are in last place in the American League Central at 28-57, 26 games behind division-leader Minnesota. The Tigers almost certainly will lose more than 100 games this season. They haven't made the playoffs since 2014.
But make no mistake: The rebuild isn't taking place in Detroit. It's taking place in the minors. And it was on display in Cleveland on Sunday for the Futures Game, where three Tigers prospects played in the game: pitcher Matt Manning, third baseman Isaac Paredes and catcher Jake Rogers.