Many people have been surprised this season by Detroit Tigers’ decision to rebuild. Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski will likely be criticized if he engages in a sell-off in Detroit, but it’s the right decision.
Dombrowski has a history of rebuilding his franchises aggressively. He built the Florida Marlins’ into a World Series Champion in 1997, but subsequently engaged in a sell-off which lead to several years of obscurity. But the rebuilding paid off. Although Dombrowski left Florida for Detroit in 2002, the Marlins won another World Series in 2003 because of the strategy.
The same methods are being applied in Detroit. Dombrowski made the team younger after taking over in 2002. Then, once the franchise appeared to be heading in the right direction, he made several aggressive moves, most notably sending Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin to the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis.
Being an Astros fan makes me admire rebuilding because our team is about to learn the consequences of always trying to compete on a mid-market payroll. Look for the Tigers’ franchise to decline strongly over the next several seasons, but return to competition shortly thereafter.