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Tigers will stand pat at deadline, have to win with players they have

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Posted at 11:29 AM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 11:29:56-04

What a difference a year makes.

About this time in 2015, the Tigers were heading nowhere - actually last place in the American League Central. But the plug was pulled on the season. Fans were mad, to say the least.

Instead of making deals to bolster the slumping team's roster, management decided the season couldn't be saved and opted to sell on the MLB trade deadline.

Stud starter David Price was sent to Toronto. Blue Jays went onto make the playoffs. On this day, Aug. 1 a year ago, Yoenis Cespedes was traded to the New York Mets. Cespedes led the Mets to the World Series.

Tigers' fans were disappointed.

It had nothing to do with what the Tigers got back in exchange for those stars. It's just that there was no chance the team had an honest shot to win the World Series for the first time since 1984.
Enter 2016.

The Tigers (57-48) look a lot different as the MLB trade deadline approaches at 4 p.m. today.

They are riding a hot streak, playing their best baseball. They swept the Houston Astros this past weekend, giving them back-to-back sweeps and a six-game win streak.

Still, if the season were to end today, they would be on the outside looking in. They trail the first-place Cleveland Indians by 4.5 games in the Central. They are behind both Toronto and Boston for the two AL wild card spots.

The Tigers won't deal away talent today. But there's an even better chance they won't add any, either.
The team and roster the Tigers have has to sink or swim.

It only makes sense. This is a $200 million roster in place. It was supposed to be able to compete as is.
But, let's be honest, it's been so inconsistent for most of the season, fans have been downright disappointed in the

team's performance. It was just a week ago, it appeared as if the season was going to totally collapse.

Last Sunday, in Chicago, the Tigers dropped two walk-off losses to the White Sox, who entered that four-game series really struggling.

The Tigers went to Boston and swept the Red Sox and followed it up with a three-game sweep of the Astros at Comerica Park.

Some fans, no doubt, would like to see the Tigers try to get another starter and reliever. The Tigers desperately need both. Pitching has been an issue all season.

Despite the hot week, the Tigers still have those issues to overcome in order to make it back to the postseason after last season's last place finish.

One of the biggest problems in the rotation - Anibal Sanchez - starts Tuesday against the White Sox. In his last three starts, he's 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 16 innings of work.

Fans would love for the Tigers to shocked MLB America today and grab a starter via a trade and replace Sanchez in the rotation to start the stretch run.
Doubt expect such a miracle.

Tigers GM Al Avila won't be allowed to spend anymore of owner Mike Ilitch's money.

Avila has made it pretty clear that the additions to the teams will come from injured players making it back to the big club.

The Tigers expect to have starter Jordan Zimmermann and J.D. Martinez. That will be good, but probably not good enough.

The teams ahead of the Tigers in the race aren't only better on paper, but are adding players as well. The Tribe pulled off a coup on Sunday, grabbing Yankees' stud lefty Andrew Miller. It will make the Indians hard to beat late in games. Some think the move gives the Indians the division.

The trade deadline will come and go today. Many teams, still believing they have a shot, will make moves. It's hard to see the Tigers doing anything major, maybe a minor move to add a bullpen arm.

Either way, this will be an interesting final two months.

Will the Tigers finally put it all together and play the way many expected out of spring training? Or will it be business as usual after this hot streak?

Before the season started, I picked the Tigers to finish 81-81 and be in third place. And I could wind up being wrong on the record, but still don't see them making the playoffs despite the emergence of rookie Michael Fulmer and impressive bounce back from Justin Verlander.