Tigers fall short of postseason despite 12-game improvement

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 9:  Manager Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Justin Upton #8 of the Detroit Tigers and Jose Iglesias #1 of the Detroit Tigers after a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on September 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 9: Manager Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with Justin Upton #8 of the Detroit Tigers and Jose Iglesias #1 of the Detroit Tigers after a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on September 9, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

 

DETROIT (AP) — When the Detroit Tigers spent millions last offseason to sign Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton, it appeared they extended their window of opportunity to challenge for a championship for another couple of years.

One of those chances went by the wayside in 2016.

The Tigers were eliminated from the AL wild-card race on the final day of the season, missing the playoffs for a second straight year. It was a bitter disappointment for a team that came into 2016 with a payroll around $200 million and a roster still built around Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander — two stars who had very productive seasons but are now in their mid-30s.

“A lot of hard work for naught,” Verlander said. “You can’t say a wasted year because we battled and we gave it everything we had. … Still, all the hard work in the offseason, all the hard work during the season, and then it comes to an end on the last day. It’s tough.”

Detroit’s 86-75 record was a 12-game improvement over 2015. The Tigers have not made any announcement about the future of manager Brad Ausmus, but general manager Al Avila can keep the roster largely intact if he wants to.

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