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.”
A part of me wishes they trade their top talent now for a bunch of dice rolling minor league prospects. Do what the Royals, Cubs, Astros, and Rays did. Miggy’s contract doesn’t help but maybe they can revisit his contract and put him in the FO like A-Rod w/yanks.
A-Rod scorched the entire earth with smear campaigns and lawsuits after being suspended for PEDs and having both hips replaced. He was forced out because he was useless and toxic. Miggy can still play, no way he agrees to retire to help out the club.
The Salary Cap is at $206 million. The Tiger’s payroll is $94 million. Miggy’s salary is not an issue.
I mean in the early teen the Tigers were flirting with the luxury tax. With Miggy’s $32MM, staying under the threshold effectively makes the cap that much lower; roughly $174MM to spend elsewhere.
baseballs cap is only a top end number for the top teams. after mike illich passed the tigers lost 20 million dollars of illich money in 2016. that’s why they cut payroll Mike over spent trying to buy a the world series ring he couldn’t get as a player.
Hard to walk with four balls
i’d rather be an owner than a player.
After the Tigers started 4-2 last year, a poster on here suggested they might be in contention for a playoff spot. A classic example of why you can’t jump to any conclusions until six weeks into the season at the earliest.
Ohh, they did? It’s amazing how you zeroed in on that record, and that poster. Great memory!
Hey they’re in first place right now, I think I’ll reserve my rooms at the casino just in case. LOL
It took the first 2 games against the Blue Jays to know they were a bad team. Bet someone thought Zimmerman was poised for a bounce back season after shutting the Jays down too.
Silly for sure. All of their top talent are minor league prospects.
I’ve never paid more attention to MILB than the last few years.
Tigers fans, take heart & stay the course. If done right, and with some luck, it will pay off, but it takes 4-5 really bad years to put it together. Look at the Cubs and soon the Sox – they did or are doing the same thing and it paid off for the Cubs and it’s getting exciting for White Sox fans now.
I hope you’re right…..
The difference they “Chicago teams” traded away legitimate MLB players for legitimate youth. The Tigers are pinning hopes on guys that truly aren’t rated well. The pitchers they have in the minors are grading out at decent at best. They are being hit hard at the MLB level. They don’t truly have any game changing position players. So no I see this as a organization that’s selling lies to fans. Unfortunately Detroit fans in all 4 sports but what they’re told.
The pitchers in the minors are “decent at best”??? Seriously?
MLB Pipeline’s 2020 prospect list disagrees.
Casey Mize is the #1 ranked righthanded pitching prospect
Tarik Skubal is the #4 ranked lefthanded pitching prospect
Matt Manning is the #7 ranked right handed pitching prospect
How is that decent at best?
Wentz, Burrows, and Faedo all have the ability to breakthrough as well.
Earth to Kidcub
Ummm, none of Detroit’s top pitching prospects has had their MLB debut yet, so how are the exactly getting “hit hard at the MLB level”???
“They are being hit hard at the MLB level”. I’m not sure which is worse….that comment or the fact most of the post wasn’t in English. Let us know Mize Manning and Skubal’s “MLB level” stats please. I’ll wait.
They may be closer than some think. There is talent in players like Niko Goodrum, JaCoby Jones, Victor Reyes, Christen Stewart, and Jaimer Candelario that has not fully developed. Hopefully, one of more step forward this year. The pitching will continue to arrive. Boyd and Turnbull are decent, and will hopefully improve. Norris may someday stay healthy. Mize, Manning and Skubal may see the majors this year. I am not making any predictions, other than they should be more entertaining.
Stymee, be careful. C-man will say you claimed the Tigers were playoff bound this year.
Unless they find some bats they better plan on winning a lot of 3-1, 2-0 games with those great minor league arms
It’s about time Chris said something
Yes they want free stadiums and they want public money while they don’t even try to win games… there should be a rule that punishes any team that doesn’t give their all to win… including spending to their capabilities… after all the MLB rules are clear: tanking is illegal.. every team must do every thing they can to win every game.. If a player tanks.. ( MLB rule 21A i believe) they can be banned for life… the same should happen to owners..
Rule 21 MISCONDUCT(a) MISCONDUCT IN PLAYING BASEBALL. Any player or person connected with a Club who shall promise or agree to lose, or to attempt to lose, or to fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with which he is or may be in any way concerned, or who shall intentionally lose or attempt to lose, or intentionally fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any such baseball game, or who shall solicit or attempt to induce any player or person connected with a Club to lose or attempt to lose, or to fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with which such other player or person is or may be in any way concerned, or who, being solicited by any person, shall fail to inform the Commissioner (in the case of a player or person associated with a Major League Club) or the President of the Minor League Association (in the case of a player or person associated with an independent Minor League Club) immediately of such solicitation, and of all facts and circumstances connected therewith, shall be declared permanently ineligible.
How in the world would you begin to analyze that? These fa players get to chose where they play. Don’t get me wrong tanking is bad for the game. But, telling a team how they spend and where to spend their money is like voluntarily relinquishing your freedoms to the government. I believe a lottery style draft would help, other than that maybe a minimum salary cap.
the league knows what the teams really make.. the best kept secret in the sports world… They could set a minimum for each team based upon real income and expenses.. to ensure that fan and the public ( who fund the stadium to get better teams) would get their money’s worth..
2018 revenue – NYY $668m TB $228 DET $276.
there is only 1 team with Known revenues: The Atlanta Braves who are owned by a corporation so their books have to open to scrutiny.. last year the braves, according to the article published on here: $476MM revenue.. player salaries: at season end $138mm… so $330++MM to play with.. you can guarantee their facilities expenses are low as they have a new publicly funded stadium designed to increase profits.. and the age old formula is 1/2 spent on payroll… who knows for that much they could have been world champions..
I’m just saying if we’re basing team salaries off revenue, the rich will only get richer.
Hard to walk with four balls
There are more expenses than just player salaries.
All this accomplishes is mediocrity…. just look at all those years of the Red Wings we had to endure where they were never quite good but not terrible, and how the fan base grew sick of the constant signings of free agents which propped them up toward .500 and kept them from enlisting any new, discernible young talent on the horizon.. Sure, tanking can be viewed as undesirable but you’d be hard set to develop any real parameters to it. Even your idea of a salary floor based on revenue would be offset by players like Zimmerman who are paid well but perform poorly. Forcing the owners to spend money when its counterproductive to building a winning franchise seems quixotic, especially when the idea of being legitimately competitive is far-fetched. My viewpoint on the matter is we were lucky to have a section of time where we did ‘go for it’, and made significant signings and spent at least up to the means of the franchise, perhaps beyond,, and even if the ultimate payoff wasn’t sequestered it was a fun ride and valiant attempt. Now we pay a little bit of a price for that as we regroup and build a basis of talent to try again. I’ll have to admit there is a part of me excited to watch young talent working up through the system and the anticipation which lies here. I’d prefer it to an attempt to stretch out 80 wins this season just a flirtatious dream..
Sorry, this section is not relevant. It is about throwing games, which is trying to intentionally lose individual games. Tiger players are trying to win, even if they are not very good at winning. But rebuilding (stop using tanking) is a legitimate business strategy. Sacrificing short term gain for a better longer term gain. Businesses do it all the time, so why is wrong to do in baseball? Bottom line is that it isn’t wrong. Teams have been doing for a long time. THE only reason it has been an issue as of late is the sheer number of teams that were in that phase 2-3 years ago. Many of those teams are no longer in that phase.
Detroit and Baltimore.
It’s going to be awhile. Come back in three years and see how many prospects they have on the Top 100 lists.
It’s a long Phillies style rebuild. Could easily stretch to the very end of this decade.
Hard to walk with four balls
that is complete nonsense.
The Tigers went from 117 loses in 2003 to in the world series in 2006.
There is no way your “stretch to the very end of this decade” prediction is anything other than daft.
Here’s the true problem with the Tigers… They as a organization think they’re better than MLB does. All these so called great pitching prospects we have? Odd it takes years to get to majors, yet other organizations turn they’re youth into superstars by 23-24.. We have guys 26-27 and the organization says how they’re becoming stars.. Hell they are. Tigers have ZERO game changing position players in the minors, and the pitchers we have are all rated outside the top 20 in pitching prospects around baseball. PLEASE stop buying the garbage Avila and the organizations selling…
Faedo, Mize, Manning, Skubal and Boyd are all good pitchers, im probably forgetting one or two too
Ya of those pitchers that have been in the organization for a few years now are making a impact? Look around the league at the you g impact players… These guys are being hammered at the major league level except Boyd. And look at Boyd’s numbers against teams with a .500 record… He’s garbage, those are the teams you’ve gotta lift your game against.
Cubbie, of those guys Brixton mentioned, only Boyd has pitched a single inning in the majors (none have been “hammered at the major league level…).
How does DET think they’re better than the rest of the MLB? It’s almost as if you think the fans and fo didn’t just witness 114 loses. Niko, Willi Castro, Victor Reyes are some of the recent position signings. Sure we don’t have a Mookie Betts, but this Riley Greene kid looks like he’ll be a great ball player
Bob I said the organization “thinks” these guys are better than what the league rates them. Tell me one that’s truly making a impact? And com’on…. Really? Nikko, Castro or Reyes? What are they really doing? Barley hitting .250ish? Those are the guys your panning you’re future on? Seriously? See your the problem, you accept the crap they sell…
Reyes hit over .300. Sorry, facts are dangerous things!
Lol ya in like what 60 games? Must be another HOF’er like Quintin Berry.
So, just stop watching. It seems like you have it all figured out, why not take your own advice? Idk what else to tell you.
What advice Bob? Not sure I offered advice. Sorry you misread something.
“ PLEASE stop buying the garbage Avila and the organizations selling…” advice..followed by “ See your the problem, you accept the crap they sell…”
Ya that’s called a statement. Not advice. Sorry
Ohh, that’s a statement? Okay..How about you take your own “statement” and put it into practice? Have a good night pal. Happiness is a choice
So. A young player is no good if he doesn’t produce instantly, If he does produce, you discount it because it’s a small sample size. Both expectations are fool’s errands.
Manning and Mize rated in the top 12 and top 2 or 3 of all pitching prospects. Skubal is right around 20. Faedo and Wentz project as MLB starters and Perez if he is ever healthy is a top 20 arm talent. They are stacked, let alone with Boyd and Turnbull in the majors pitching 3rd/4th starter level…plus the rest of the wild card arms..
Padres, Braves, Tigers, White Sox have the best starter situation in MLB, then maybe the Marlins and Phillie’s and a couple others but there is a clear top 4
Actually Mize is the #2 pitching prospect and Skubal and Manning are both top ten. In all MLB. And they are all in thier early 20s. Odd that you think the Tigers prospects are worse than every respected prospect ranking publication.
Christopher Illitch makes it sound like he’s got experience building championship sports teams. No, you have experience WATCHING your dad build championship teams! Big difference there, sonny boy.
Exactly thank you Scott…
Boy, can you imagine if everyone had that attitude? How exactly do expect a guy to get experience if you never give him a chance? And as much as I appreciated Mr I, last I checked he has just as many WS as his son.
Lol Bob… It’s not any attitude. It’s what fans SEE!!!!! A organization that constantly sells something they don’t have. Look around baseball and tell me organizations that take years to develop pitchers? If they’re legit it’s a year, 2 at most and they’re pitching at the majors. And no that’s NOT everyone…. It’s the real ones.
The problem, Bob, is that Christopher Illitch implies he’s got that experience already!
WTH do you think Chris was doing the last 15 years? Playing MLB the Show in Daddy’s basement?? You all are depressed and disgruntled. I get it. I’m sorry, I know this team sucks, but killing the vibes won’t help your pity. I appreciate Chris’ confidence.
Lol see.. Tigers fans can survive on the “vibe” makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.. Camt wait for the Tigers to win the vibe World Series. Yahoooo.
You “Camt wait”? Can you wait another 100 years for a Cub Championship?
Well the fact the cubs actually know what they’re doing so I doubt it’s gonna be even 10 years. So what’s your point? Lol you really don’t have one. BOOOOM
Yupp, you got us Kidcub23. Thanks for stopping by and spreading your joy. Good luck finding happiness on your next endeavor
The Cubs are a mess, according to most of their fans. Yet you see them winning another W.S. Within the next ten years?
I guess I’ll believe it when I see it.
Tank is Whack!
I could see the Tigers making strides this year; no playoffs but no last place finish. If their young pitching continues to develop, I can we might be seeing the end of the rebuild.
Hard to walk with four balls
They will finish last place.
Write it in stone
Don’t forget about Michel Fulmer. Should be as good or better after his Tommy John elbow fully heals like most who go though it these days…see skubal…same surgery. Tigers will have best starting five in mlb by 2022 if not 2021. Need some hitters. Spencer torckelson this draft then one more crap year this year gets us another top bat next draft. Then buy some bats. Gonna be fun watching the Toledo mudhens this year !
I hope Kody Clemens finds and old bottle of his dads vitamins… he could become the next cano.
I have no doubt that our prospects will win 75-100% more games once they’re playing than we won last year. How many teams will be able to say that in 5 years.
Paredes and Green are top position players and very young. They have very good top of the rotation potential starters in their early 20’s. They have some very good relief pitchers coming up. They have a number 1 pick this year… 2 additional high picks this year and probably a nice set of top 5 picks the next 2 years.
They will not all pan out… but they won’t all bust either.
Think about it… in 4 years they could have a set rotation, solid pen and 4 top hitters in their lineup all making league minimum. Illich could sign 3 top free agents to fill the holes and they could have a very solid team.
I still have no idea why any fan would willingly give their hard earned money to a franchise that refuses to even try to compete for what will probably end up at 5 years, maybe more. I have no problem with a team rebuilding, but they are not building the Taj Mahal here, With free agency, a rebuild should never take more than a year or two. This not trying at the ML level just to collect the best draft picks for years is just pathetic. To me, the Astros doing that was far more egregious than any sign stealing junk. Long term tanking is far worse for the integrity of the game. I don’t mind a team being bad, as long as they are trying to put a legitimate major league team on the field. I’m a Rockies fan, so I am used to my team being bad. But even when they are bad, they are trying to win. Can anyone look at Detroit’s roster from 2019 and call that a legitimate attempt at winning major league ball games? Just makes me sick.
Miggy looks great right now. We will see what happens after the season starts…
Tigers have some arms. More than some arms. This season they find out which position players they need to replace and who they keep moving forward. They could be a team on the rise in 2021 thanks to pitching. They also need Boyd to start strong and deal him without a second thought. Fulmer will return also.
Miggy could be a big boost for the young hitters. They can learn so much from him.
As a lifelong Tigers fan, I can say I am happy where we are headed. This process should’ve started about 5 years before it did but we were DESPERATELY trying to get that ring for Mr. Illitch and fell short. They did bring in some FA’s that I like in Cron, Schoop and Maybin that’ll make us more competitive than last year. And the fact that Mize and Manning are 2 out of the 3 top RH pitchers in Milb, not to mention 19th round gem Tarik Skubal is an ace in the making. Riley Greene is mashing so far in ST, so there are a number of things to smile about. But this upcoming 1st overall pick has to be nailed! It will be imperative to get the best hitter/fielder in the draft. The hardest things to find in baseball is pitching and we’ve got that in spades with who I’ve already mentioned to go along with Faedo and also 2 guys that may be better in the pen being Beau Burrows and Kyle Funkhouser. Cabrera will eventually come off the books just like the pymts we had to make for Fielder and JV, and outside of Cabby we’ll have nothing but 1 year deals and arbitration cases. We’ll have a blank book to sign premium FA’s just as the kids are starting to show up at Comerica. Just gotta suffer a few more years! GO TIGERS
I couldn’t agree more. Idk if Funkhouser has what it takes and I’m still holding hope for Burrows. But, not looking well for the pair in the early goings. Drew Carlton is another sneaky one to keep an eye on.
Been hearing a lot of this kind of talk. So once all of the bad contracts are off the books, aside from Miggy, what makes people think chris won’t keep the payroll at or below $100MM??
I sure hope he is telling us true facts. I’m a die hard tiger fan,drove to sring training many times down in Lakeland to enjoy. Cabrera,wouldn’t sign a Jersey for me every year and I still went and tried again next year, and next year, with the holier then now attitudes, treating die hard fans like crap,mind u the shirt cost 135.00. And then the poor losing streak that has been coming year after year made me not so die hard. I hope u sir are serious about pulling together a come back team. You’ve done it in the past and I wish the best. But I ask also that u talk with ur team about more concerns about the ones that so love n follow u, and spend good money in ur stadiums. A fan who’d like to make those trips again to florida during spring training.
I finally registered on here specifically to reply to this comment.
I met Miggy last year in Dallas after a Rangers game, he was sitting in the hotel lobby with some friends. Me and him are the same age I’m not a little kid fan boy but still against my better judgement I decided to walk up to him and say hello. Maybe just because it was Texas and nobody else knew who he was so I don’t know perhaps that made me brazen towards it otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered him. He stood up as I walked toward him, shook my hand, listened to what I had to say and thanked me for supporting him. He couldn’t have been nicer and if it went the opposite way and he told me not to invade his personal time/space I would have completely understood but that isn’t what happened at all. I would assume you’re also a grown man talking to other grown men trying to get them to sign something for you, something reserved for children unless or course you’re paying for it. I’m sorry but him declining to sign it is not doing something wrong, you thinking you are entitled to him signing it is. I was shocked by how friendly he was to me but I approached him one man to another and I think he appreciated that. These guys are human beings they’re not memorabilia dispensers and selfie picture machines, you need have respect for that in my opinion.
If it was another player I wouldn’t have cared to comment but for Miggy after how he treated me I’m sorry I have to rebuke what you said completely.
Victor Reyes looks like he put in 25lbs of muscle. He could be a breakout player this year….