The Tigers are telling people that they might not be able to afford slugger JD Martinez and may trade him before he becomes a free agent after the 2017 season.
If Mike Ilitch were alive we would not hear such silly talk. JD would be part of the Tigers long-term future. Whether the moves were right or wrong, Mike Ilitch made things happen as Tigers owner.
When Ilitch died earlier this year a part of the Tigers died along with him.
He did what he thought was best for the Detroit Tigers and their fans. He did not always do what was best for the bottom line. Now his son Chris Ilitch and wife Marian Ilitch are making the decisions. And no matter how many times Chris says things won’t be different you can bet things are going to be different for the Tigers.
The bottom line will play a bigger role which means General Manager Al Avila must make better baseball decisions with a budget engrained in the back of his mind if the Tigers are to remain contenders.
Mike Ilitch’s mentality was I am a billionaire. I can take a few financial risks because this is best for fans.
Bringing in Prince Fielder did not make sense or dollars and cents, but it happened under Ilitch. There’d be no JV and Miguel Cabrera on the same team and under the same payroll without Ilitch.
There would not even be the added expense of Tiger statues at Comerica Park if not for Mike Ilitch.
And soon it looks like a 29 year old slugger is going to get away because times are different. The Tigers don’t want to hit the luxury tax. I get it. But with Anibal Sanchez ($16.5 million), Ian Kinsler ($11 million) and Francisco Rodriguez ($6 million) coming off the books, the Tigers could make JD a priority.
Of that group Kinsler is the only guy you want to keep.
That’s if this was just about getting under the luxury tax. However, I believe the Tigers want to turn a profit in this age of declining attendance and revenue. The best way to do that is to set a payroll budget, which they do every year, and stick to it, something Mike Ilitch did not always do.
I’d hate for Tiger fans to see JD Martinez in a San Francisco Giants or New York Yankees uniform saying they wish they had a guy like this on their roster.
That’s what they say in Houston. You don’t want to be like those people.