It's been a high-pressured, uncertain season for the Tigers with manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski in the final year of their contracts.
On Monday, that changed. Tigers owner Mike Illitch gave Leyland and Dombrowski a four-year extension and Leyland a one-year extension.
John Lowe, veteran baseball writer for the Detroit Free Press, cited strong attendance and a strong starting rotation as proof the Dombrowski-Leyland combo is succeeding. Writes Lowe:
Does any team have a better rotation for the next several years than the Tigers? Its four starting pitchers who are younger than 30, including Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander, are under the club's contractual control through at least 2014. Jacob Turner, the club's top prospect, could join the rotation in 2012.
I think it's a credit to Dombrowski that the team didn't panic by trading Turner before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The 6-5 righthander is supposed to be the real deal, and plenty of teams asked about him, including the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez discussions.
The Tigers still managed to upgrade their rotation by adding Seattle starter Doug Fister. They still need to prove they can finish strong. Yes, they reached the World Series in 2006, but they haven't had a winning second half since 2000.
They are 12-10 since the All-Star break and still have 12 games remaining against the second-place Indians, with the teams set to open a three-game series tonight in Cleveland (Fister vs. Masterson, 6 p.m., MLB Network).