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How did the 2014 Detroit Tigers not win anything with their award winning roster?

As anticipated, Robbie Ray took home his first CY Young award after a lights out season for the Blue Jays. He lead the American League in ERA (2.84) and innings pitched (193 1/3). He lead the voting with 29-out-of-30 first place votes, beating out Yankees Gerrit Cole and White Sox Lance Lynn.

Now, why does the 2021 CY Young winner have any relations to the Detroit Tigers? Well he was a member of the 2014 squad. In an already loaded roster, Robbie Ray served as an insurance arm, spending a decent amount of time with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. He made his debut in May of that season, allowing only one run on five hits in 5 and 1⁄3 innings of an 11–4 rout of the Astros, becoming the first Tigers pitcher to win his first major league start at the age of 22 or younger since 1999 (Jeff Weaver). He made two starts before Anibal Sanchez returned from injury. He came back to the team a few weeks later, and didn't perform as well, going 1-4 with a 8+ ERA. His success was found in the minors, posting a 7–6 record and 4.22 ERA in 20 games.

A young Robbie Ray, making a spot start for the Tigers in 2014. PC: Leon Halip

General Manager, David Dombrowski, knew how to build a contending ball team. The Tigers finished first in the AL Central after going 90-72, but ultimately got swept by the Orioles in the ALDS. Obviously Robbie Ray wasn't the pitcher he is today on that team, and he was only a small variable in the bigger equation, but looking at this loaded roster, how did the Tigers not win the World Series? Arguably, the Tigers had the most award winningest and absolutely loaded roster, it's hard to imagine in 2021 that they never took home a title.

While we are on the topic, let's start with their pitching staff. On paper, their six starter rotation is an all-name team in itself.

  1. Max Scherzer

  2. Justin Verlander

  3. Rick Porcello

  4. Anibal Sanchez

  5. Drew Smyly

  6. David Price

Between these six pitchers, their resumes are astounding. Granted when you have two inevitable Hall of Famers in Scherzer and Verlander, but collectively, their accolades are very impressive.

  • 21 All-Star Appearances

  • 9 Wins Leader

  • 9 Strikeout Leaders

  • 7 CY Young Awards

  • 7 World Series Champions

  • 6 No Hitters

  • 4 ERA Leaders

  • 2 All-MLB Selections

  • 2 Comeback Player's of the Year

  • 2 Immaculate Innings pitched

  • 1 Triple Crown

  • 1 Rookie of the Year

  • 1 League MVP

  • 1 Playoff Series MVP

Their bullpen provided similar depth, with the likes of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Ian Krol, and Joe Nathan. Other players who pitched for the Tigers included Joakim Soria, Corey Knebel, and Robbie Ray. Amongst this group of familiar names, they collected a total of 2 World Series rings, 12 All-Stars, 1 ERA Leader, 1 Strikeout Leader, and 1 CY Young Award from Ray this season.

From left to right: Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly. PC: Getty Images / Mark Cunningham

If you thought the pitching staff was impressive, well check out their position players. Their lineup looked like this.

  • C: Alex Avila

  • 1B: Miguel Cabrera

  • 2B: Ian Kinsler

  • SS: Andrew Romine

  • 3B: Nick Castellanos

  • LF: J.D. Martinez

  • CF: Austin Jackson

  • RF: Torii Hunter

  • DH: Victor Martinez

Their bench also included James McCann, Rajai Davis, Eugeno Suarez, Don Kelly, and Alex Gonzalez. What did their careers look like?

  • 34 All-Star Appearances

  • 16 Silver Slugger Awards

  • 11 Gold Glove Awards

  • 4 League Batting Champions

  • 4 World Series Rings

  • 3 Hank Aaron Awards

  • 3 RBI Leaders

  • 2 MVP Winners

  • 2 Home Run Leaders

  • 1 Triple Crown Achievement

  • 1 Triple Leader

  • 1 Stolen Base Leader

And this doesn't include Prince Fielder, Omar Infante, Johnny Peralta, Jose Iglesias, and Avisail Garcia, who were part of the Tigers core from 2011-13, adding another 12 All Star appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers, 1 Hank Aaron Ward, a Comeback Player of the Year, and League Leader in RBI's and Home Runs. Induvial awards don't matter, but you can't deny how incredible the amount of hardware and room on the trophy cases that these players have amounted to in their entirety of their careers.

Don Kelly poses for a photo with teammates Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, and Torii Hunter after giving them an assortment of 2013 season awards. PC: Jeff Curry/Getty Images

For the Tigers, 2014 wasn't their only shot. Between 2011 and 2014, where majority of these players dawned the Olde English D, they won a total of 366 games winning four straight AL Central titles, and also appeared in three ALCS appearances. They made the 2012 World Series but lost to the inevitable dynasty winning San Francisco Giants.

The lack of World Series wins can be resulted in playing teams when they are on little hot streaks, inconsistent pitching from the bullpen, a hot and cold offense, injuries of their top talent, and roster inexperience's. Looking back though, you would think they could still overcome all of this.

Is this the most decorated collection of players to never win a World Series for their respective team?


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