Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch spoke confidently about his organization’s rebuilding efforts, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes. He also explained the pace of an increasingly agonizing process.
Detroit fans won’t need or want to hear the gory details, but it ain’t pretty. The club lost 98 games in consecutive seasons leading up to last year’s putrid 47-114 showing. It’s hard to watch.
Then again, there’s an argument to be made that, if you’re going to dive, you really ought to dive hard. With another first-overall draft pick to work with, the Tigers have now afforded themselves every possible chance to load up on young talent. GM Al Avila sees big things to come from the club’s rotation prospects, in particular, as he told MLB Network Radio today (Twitter link).
Ilitch wants fans to know that he’s suffering along with them and shares their drive to win. He says he’s “very competitive” and assures that “the fire is burning inside.” And Ilitch made clear he’s very pleased with the “trajectory” of the rebuilding effort, even if the loss tallies have mounted at the MLB level.
Obviously, the Tigers aren’t ready to mount a spirited return to the ranks of relevance just yet. But once they are? Ilitch may not be promising to spend at the top of the market the way his father did, but he made clear he expects to open the pocketbook.
“When I feel the time is right, Al is going to have the resources to go out and sign the free agents he needs to add around our home-grown base and core of talent,” says Ilitch. “That day will come and we’ll be ready for it. He will have the resources to do that.”
That’s where the catch comes in for anxious Tigers supporters. Ilitch understandably can’t yet say when the revival will begin in earnest.
“I am a competitive person but I am also an exceptionally disciplined person,” he says. While there’s a desire to win “as fast as possible,” Ilitch is presently focused on “establishing the foundation” and “building this the right way.”
The hope is obviously that of just about every other team in baseball: a sustainable winner. Citing his experiences with the Tigers and NHL Red Wings, Ilitch says he’s confident in delivering on that goal: “Be patient, be disciplined and we’re going to get there.”