Detroit News predictions: Where will Tigers finish?

Detroit News staff

Detroit News sports writers predict the Tigers' record and finish in the American League Central.

Lynn Henning: Tigers are built much differently in 2016. It’s a better team. But they also play in a strong division that’s steadily getting better. There’s your reason making the playoffs will be difficult. 87-75, 3rd Central

Chris McCosky: The lineup is as potent as any in the American League with the possible exception of the Blue Jays. The starting rotation is, top to bottom, certainly as good as any in the Central Division. The rebuilt bullpen — well, we’ve learned not to have lofty bullpen expectations. The question is, how many games will the Tigers be able to put their best lineup on the field? If healthy, they will contend for the division title. 86-76, 2nd Central

John Niyo: Everything looks improved, including this team’s attitude. But hunger doesn’t account for health, so we’ll see if the over-30 crowd can hold up their end of the payroll. Even if they can’t — Victor Martinez and Anibal Sanchez are the big question marks — the bench and organizational depth are better-equipped to handle it. 84-78, 2nd Central

Tony Paul: Few folks nationally are giving the Tigers much of an chance, which is odd given Mike Ilitch’s continued desire to spend whatever it takes — this offseason, Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton being the big buys. The AL Central is theirs for the taking, given some big departures from Kansas City. 94-68, 1st Central

Bob Wojnowski: The lineup is better with Justin Upton’s arrival, but can it stay healthy? The bullpen is better, but new closer Francisco Rodriguez is 34. The starting rotation could be good, but after Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann, there are questions. So how does it add up? The Tigers need some luck avoiding injuries and need Anibal Sanchez to solidify the rotation to stay in the race, but they’ll fall a bit short. 85-77, 2nd Central