Let's look at the Tigers runs allowed over the past couple years:
2008 - 857
2007 - 797
2006 - 675
Obviously, both pitching and defense contributed to our unacceptable inflation in RA. Lee Panas over at Tiger Tales has a great piece on our defensive erosion this past season.
Thinking about RA leads me to speculate that the front office has been mulling over things like our catastrophic RA also, and that may have precipitated the move of Brandon Inge to third. Since we know we won't be a player in any big free agent pitcher signing, defensive improvement becomes more crucial.
Obviously, we will also be largely dependent on seeing comebacks from many of our existing staff--Bonderman, Robertson, Willis, even a significant rebound for Verlander. We will be fervently hoping for the speedy development of young arms like Rick Porcello and Casey Crosby (who I know next to nothing about, other than that he's made a magnificent 9-month recovery from Tommy John surgery--thanks to info from the Freep).
In my mind, there's a lot of synergy between good defensive plays and good pitching, and even hitting at times. The whole "pick -em up" mentality--I really buy into it. Let's hope our guys will be picking each other up a lot more next year.