Dave Dombrowski didn’t have to say anything. He sent his message when he gave up two of the Tigers’ best prospects for reliever Joakim Soria: We’re effin’ going for it.
It doesn’t matter that we overpaid. It doesn’t matter if Cory Knebel and Jake Thompson are good. If we win it won’t matter if Joakim Soria doesn’t perform as expected. I made a move to win now.
He has the right attitude. The Tigers’ window is closing. Miguel Cabrera’s OPS is the lowest it has been since his second year in the league. Justin Verlander’s strikeout rate is lowest it’s been in eight years. His ERA is nearing 5.00. Yet the Tigers hold a five-game lead in the AL Central. The team that’s dominating the AL, the Athletics, is the same team the Tigers have owned in the postseason for eight years.
This has to be the year. Max Scherzer will become a free agent. Dombrowski might become commissioner. Verlander and Cabrera might recover, but what if they don’t? Eventually time will have it’s way. It won’t be too long until Verlander is a breaking ball pitcher and Cabrera is dragging around man boobs.
A franchise that has those factors, an 85-year-old owner and a 30-year championship drought has to go for it. Especially after coming close two times before.
But the Tigers aren’t the only ones. This fall might be just as important for the Lions.
They’re not as close — winning one playoff game would be a start — but the urgency to perform is similar.
Detroit tabled contract talks with Ndamukong Suh this week. They didn’t pick up a fifth-year option on Nick Fairley. There’s a real possibility that by 2015 the Lions will have nothing to show for their 2010 and 2011 first-round picks.
Then there’s Matt Stafford. He’s only 26. There’s still time to improve. But when the Lions brought in Jim Caldwell to be their new coach, they hyped the work he did with Peyton Manning above everything else. If Stafford doesn’t take a step forward this year or the next, there’s a chance he’ll be the guy we see now forever: Just good enough to give you hope, but not good enough to get you anywhere.
Even if that doesn’t happen, even if he starts hitting his peak around the 30, it might be too late. At a certain point Calvin Johnson is going to regress from intergalactic to just good. Instead of drawing triple coverage he’ll draw just double.
The Lions can’t completely effin’ go for it, even if their salary cap situation allowed them to. They’re not good enough. They can’t overpay for a corner and explain it by saying, ‘Hey we’re one player away and we just got him.’
But they have to better if they want any hope at either signing Suh or to lesser extent Fairley or attracting useful free agents. They can’t become the next Dallas Cowboys, posting 8-8 year after 8-8 year. At some point this season, they’re going to have to pull a page out of the Tigers book and take a risk, whether that’s on signing someone, making the rare in-season NFL trade, letting a late-round rookie take the reins at a key position like they did last year, or something else.
They’re going to have go for it to the extent that a Lions team can.