One of the biggest reasons for the Detroit Tigers’ teardown and rebuild was the unsustainable fiscal policies of former president and general manager Dave Dombrowski, as well as the late Mike Ilitch’s willingness to open up the coffers to sign big name free agents.
Now that those contracts and other lingering payments have been mostly scrubbed from the payroll, the franchise is approaching its “young and lean” form that the current front office has been alluding to for some time. After fielding one of the worst baseball teams in major league history last season, it is time to start spending again.
Longtime Bless You Boys community member David Tokarz published an article at Glass Half Fulmer that discusses the merits of the Tigers pulling out their wallets again. While it is understood that after the passing of the elder Ilitch the team would need to make some adjustments, it appears the Tigers are at that crossroads now where they can start handing out contracts to improve the team.
[T]he Tigers’ payroll in 2020 will be, before free agent additions, somewhere around $80 million. Add onto that $6 million in dead money from the Prince Fielder trade, and the Tigers have about $90 million in payroll. That puts them $46 million behind the average MLB payroll in 2019 of $136 million.
Despite the flexibility afforded by the organization’s parsimonious procedures, there is no indication that Chris Ilitch is about to start spending on this team. It is true that the effort put into rebuilding and replenishing the farm has yielded some positive results, it is also common knowledge that you cannot build a winning franchise simply from the draft alone. After a season that saw Tigers hitters post -3.1 WAR, it is high time for the team to sign some guys who are worth at least more than a replacement player.
So you mean you really have to do more than just draft? Interesting. pic.twitter.com/59Fj6Lbt7G— tigermike1975 (@tigermike1975) October 1, 2019
The Tigers need to get better
Evan Woodbery also took a look at what the Tigers need to do to improve in his article for MLive. It is pretty obvious that the major league team has hit rock bottom, but is it enough to deliver the sobering message that this brand of baseball is just not acceptable to the fans?
“I would hope we don’t do this again next year,” said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire when asked if the rebuild had hit rock bottom.
Hope alone is not going to fix this team. Because there is little indication that the organization will bring in any quality free agents, all bets appear to be on the prospects performing at the big league level, such as Jake Rogers and Willi Castro. It also appears that players like Christin Stewart, Dawel Lugo and Jeimer Candelario will continue to get their chances to prove their mettle in the majors. And while there will undoubtedly be some bargain bin signings much like with Tyson Ross and Josh Harrison in 2019, they do not offer much in the way of improvement for this ragtag roster.
Coaching shuffle represents nothing
The news of the Tigers coaching shuffle has been all over social media and the blogosphere since it was announced on Monday evening. The general sentiment of the fanbase is that the move is simply adherence to the status quo and is much ado about nothing. So the question that lingers is, “How much will actually change?”
On the face of it, it is very difficult to see any change at all, but there could be some subtle differences that might yield some measure of improvement. Joe Vavra, considered one of the more advanced baseball minds on the coaching staff, could be a better fit at hitting coach, while Lloyd McClendon’s move to bench may take advantage of his managerial experience. Meanwhile, the switch between Dave Clark and Ramon Santiago from first to third base and vice versa probably represents change for change’s sake. Or maybe all of these moves were just an effort to tie the room together nicely.
I think the preferred term is feng shui https://t.co/gLAY4DiXLP— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor) October 1, 2019
Don Kelly for manager?
#Astros first base coach Don Kelly was mentioned to me by one GM as someone who could interview for managerial jobs this offseason. Of note: He’s a Pittsburgh area native and debuted with the #Pirates in 2007. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 1, 2019
Shortstops in coffee shops
Shortstops in coffee shops talking baseball.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 1, 2019
It's Cafe con Ramón with Willi Castro and Ramon Santiago. pic.twitter.com/X9HMGUrUjf
Tigers top plays of the year
#OTD in 2006 after leading the Royals 6-0, the #Tigers lose in 12 innings, completing a crushing season-ending sweep that drops them out of the division lead and into the wild card spot pic.twitter.com/S6L6WP7SaE— Tigers History (@TigersHistory) October 1, 2019
- This Reddit post shows the strikeout champions for the 2010 decade. The Tigers show up four times on the list — three for Justin Verlander and one for David Price — while former Tiger Max Scherzer also has three of his own in the National League.
- Now that the season is over, here is a calendar of dates from now to the amateur draft next June. The next major event is five days after the World Series when free agents are able to sign.
- This FanPost presents an alternative vision for MLB expansion: the establishment of a Triple-A veteran’s league. The idea is pretty drastic and would be difficult to implement, but this is the kind of creativity the sport can use.
- Can you name everyone who played on the 2019 Detroit Tigers squad? This quiz here will test your memory as well as your tolerance for bad baseball.
Around the horn
Lopsided is MLB’s new normal. Brian Bannister, Andrew Cashner, and Rick Porcello on developing their changeups. There have been over 800 foul ball injuries in the past seven years in MLB parks. Help needed: hitters who played through injuries this past season. Billy Beane’s new ‘Moneyball’ stat: How the A’s have built a team for the modern era without relying on the walk. The Athletic staff makes their postseason predictions. Max Scherzer’s catchers have a story to tell. The latest managerial scuttlebutt from around MLB.
Baseball is awesome: #WePlayLoud edition
MLB hit a home run with this promotional video.