It seemed like the spending couldn't continue. With roughly $110 million already tied to five players and multiple offseason holes to fill, it looked like the Detroit Tigers would be forced toward cheaper options on the free agent market with the hope to compete in 2016 based off its core.
Well, guess what? Mike Ilitch wants that ring, and he is going to pay whatever the hell it takes to get it. Ilitch came out firing on Monday in a remarkably candid press conference and let the whole world know that the Tigers will compete, price and luxury tax be damned.
"It's been close right along, we've had good teams ... last year was a goofy year ... where did they come up with that garbage? But we've been close every year, four or five years we won the pennant ... as I mentioned, going to the World Series two times, you get frustrated and I get a little upset too, and I'm saying, 'Al, get out there, get me more!'"
And so Al did. No other GM (outside of friend of the site Dave Dombrowski) has been as aggressive as Al Avila. The team has already added a player in all three areas of need and most certainly are not finished. With this stark directive, look for Avila to stay assertive. The second money quote:
"We're doing everything we can to get as many good ball players ..."
(no matter what the cost, it doesn't matter?)
"No, I mean, it might sound silly, but it's true, but I think I've proved that over the years. I've never reneged on going and signing a big player."
Ilitch is not lying. From dropping big money contracts for franchise cornerstones to making free agent splashes, he has never shied from the big contract. Under his leadership the Tigers have gone from an under spending doormat to a top five payroll powerhouse. On Monday, he reaffirmed his belief in spending big.
The two quotes coupled with the entire tenor of the conference should leave Tigers fans elated. This renewed commitment provides clarity to the team's direction and means that virtually no one is off the table. It's very likely that another starter and more bullpen help will be on the way. And, remember that Alex Gordon guy who everyone loves but seemed too expensive? Maybe not!
So thank you Mr. Ilitch, for guaranteeing a reload instead of a rebuild. And please, appreciate it people. The Tigers may never have another owner with such a dedication to winning. Go grab a hot and ready and support the cause.
Tigers Sign Perfectly Fine Zimmermann to Perfectly Fine Deal - FanGraphs, August Fagerstrom
And I, for one, am fine with it.
The Tigers are spending $110 million on Jordan Zimmermann because they don't have a choice - SB Nation
There's no point in a rebuild, which means it's time for the Tigers to reload.
Baseball Therapy: The Neuropsychology of Bad Managing - Baseball Prospectus, Russell Carleton
Bunting, broccoli and the brain.
The D-Backs want what they can't have in Johnny Cueto - SB Nation, Marc Normandin
Johnny Cueto turned down a six year, 120 million dollar contract, will Arizona double down?
Around 20 teams rumored to be interested in Shelby Miller - Talking Chop, Carlos Collazo
The young Braves right-hander is drawing interest from two-thirds of the league. 20 teams. 20!
The Barcalounger - SB Nation Holiday Gift Guide
36 fun gift Ideas for the sports fan in your life. Or yourself. Probably yourself.