Maybe new Tigers skipper Alan Trammell got stuck in reminiscing mode when he hired another former Tiger great – and good friend – Kirk Gibson to become his bench coach Tuesday night.

Paul Wong
Joe Smith

Maybe Trammell thought Gibson’s tough and abrasive attitude would actually light a fire under his apathetic team and keep the clubhouse turmoil under raps.

Or maybe Trammell wanted someone else in the franchise actually marketable for a future bobblehead promotion.

After all, Ernie Harwell did retire this year.

All kidding aside, by adding Gibson to a coaching staff that already includes former Tigers such as Trammell and Lance Parrish, you’ve now got one-third of the Tigers last World Series championship team – way back in 1984.

But does that mean Tiger fans should be anticipating the boys donning the Old English ‘D’ Restore the Roar of ’84 anytime soon?

Trammell thinks so.

“I think by bringing Gibby aboard shows we mean business and we’re serious about turning this around,” Trammell told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Trammell can show he’s “serious” all he wants and bring back Jack Morris, Lou Whitaker, Darryl Evans and Chet Lemon to the Tigers to join the club. Heck, even former manager Sparky Anderson is expected to be an “advisor” to Trammell in spring training.

That may create the loudest standing ovation ever for the “brain trust” during the announcement of starting lineups. But throwing several city icons together won’t automatically alter the Tigers’ longstanding trend of losing seasons.

That is, unless the Tigers make a commitment and spend “serious” money – and spend it wisely – on free agents or re-load their farm system.

After all, not even Tony LaRussa could turn the hapless Tigers into contenders. Especially with the most talented and hardest-working members of the Tigers possibly being Trammell and Gibson themselves.

Bobby Higginson, arguably the Tigers’ best player, hit a scorching .282 last season with just 10 homers and 62 RBIs. No Tiger had more than 20 home runs last year, which didn’t help the mediocre pitching staff. And one of Detroit’s hottest prospects is 25-year-old first baseman Eric Munson – the same Munson who was hyped as Detroit’s answer at first base nearly seven years ago.

Trammell and Co. have an extremely tough job ahead of them, and they know it full well: the lack of talent, the recent turmoil in the clubhouse, the recent history of losing.

It’s going to be a while before Tigers’ fans like myself can be excited beyond May – as much as everyone doesn’t like to hear about another “five-year plan.”

“It’s an enormous undertaking, but we’ll see how good we are,” Gibson told the Detroit News. We’ll make big strides. Immediate improvement won’t be hard, but that next level will be tough. We have the energy and we have the confidence to make it work.”

But they don’t have the money to spend, which leaves the most decorated – and least experienced – coaching staff in Tigers’ packing a gun with no heat.

At least they’ll have cool bobbleheads, right?

Joe Smith can be reached at josephms@umich.edu

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