Blog Entry

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 4:57 pm
Well, the mystery team won again. I guess we shouldn't be surprised. That makes it three mysteries solved, with Cliff Lee's $120-million Philly deal and Albert Pujols' $240-million Angels deal coming before Prince Fielder's shocker of a $214-million, nine-year Tigers deal.

We also shouldn't be surprised it was the Tigers. No owner wants to win more than Detroit's Mike Ilitch. I saw how crestfallen the Casear's pizza king was following the Tigers' defeat to the Rangers in the ALCS last year. Injuries to Magglio Ordonez and Delmon Young stripped them of their lineup power, rendering them a patsy for the stacked Texas Rangers when they looked like an equal opponent to start the series.

Yet another injury, this one to Victor Martinez, spurred this move. The fine-hitting Martinez is expected to miss the 2012 season after tearing up a knee while working out, and Ilitch didn't want to waste the 2012 season. Ilitch wants to win as badly as anyone in the game. He's the new Steinbrenner, a quieter, calmer Steinbrenner.

Word was out that the Tigers were looking at picking up Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Vladimir Guerrero or Hideki Matsui, Four accomplished players winding down their careers. Instead, they got a superstar, a coreerstone player that gives them the appearance of a shoo-in for another AL Central title and another crack at the World Series title that has eluded Ilitch, despite his incredible efforts and extraordinary tolerance for spending.

The $214-million contract, which was first reported by, shouldn't shock folks. After all, Fielder is a 27-year-old slugger, a cleaup hitter and leader to build around. There is no opt-out but the salaries are said to be spread evely over the deal, making it worth exactly what it purports to be worth.

They're celebrating in Detroit. Miguel Cabrera, who will vacate first base for Fielder, is said to be thrilled to welcome Fielder, according to Danny Knobler of What surprises everyone is that Fielder didn't go to the Nationals, Orioles, Rangers or any one of the other five or six teams that was mentioned prominently for weeks, if not months.

As it turns out, the Nationals were the only one of those teams in the mix at the very end. They saw Fielder as their answer to the need for lefthanded power until Bryce Harper arrives. There is believed to have been a third team in the mix. Yes, yet another mystery team.

At this point, the only mystery is that even now no one believes the call of the mystery team. 

Category: MLB

Since: Jan 23, 2007
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:00 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

Boo hoo. You live in a small market town and want to blame economics for your team's inability to win consistently. You need to quit drinking the kool-aid given to you by your team's ownership and front office. Lack of financial resources is a myth in professional sports perpetuated by front office folks that consistently make bad decisions with their money and other resources.

You mention the Atlanta Braves as a big-market team that ALWAYS wins ... but you don't mention their $87 million payroll in 2011 ... a payroll that was 15th in the league last year and only $2 million greater than your beloved Brewers payroll. You know how that team wins? It's because they draft well, develop their own players and don't get caught up in the market of trading their young talent for over priced veterans ... or the market of signing aging players to long-term deals.

Look at a team like Tampa Bay. They had the 2nd lowest payroll in baseball last year - they'll go into next season with the lowest since Miami upped their payroll big time - and they play in a division with the two biggest spenders in New York and Boston. Somehow that team has managed to remain competitive, making three playoff appearances in the past four years. With their strong farm system, it's likely that they'll remain playoff contenders for the foreseeable future. 

Again ... tell me that finances play a part in teams inability to contend. The real issue for most teams inability to contend is - and always has been - teams wasting draft picks, an inability to develop players, trading key prospects and getting caught in bad contracts for overpriced free agents.


Since: Sep 6, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:51 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

I thought it was Joe Willey Namath -- that HE had gone that far downhill...

Since: Mar 23, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:30 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

Teh one thing baseball lacks is the competitiveness of the NFL.  The money teams dominate.  It is real hard to get excited about baseball knowing that the best I can hope for as a Brewers fan is an occasional visit to the playoffs  (like the Twins or <oick your small market team>.  In the end it is going to be the Yankees, Braves, Phillies , BoSox or some other team that can afford these high profile free agents.  Hard to not feel like my team is really just a farm team for the big boys. 

Make baseball interesting.  Put a cap in place to force teams to manage their money and allow small market teams to compete.  Having a tema like the Pirates is not good for baseball.  Everyone would make more if you just allowed everyone a fair shot at competing

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:16 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

For 214 million couldn't he have bought the Indians instead?

Since: Aug 31, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:06 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

People talk like we have a salary cap in baseball! Mr Illitch owns the yankees of hockey in the red wings and soon he will be owning the yankees on the field!

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:04 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

the Nats wont be waiting long for Harper...barring injury, it'll be mid-2013 at the latest...

Since: Oct 5, 2011
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:02 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

Just saw that picture, Jane Fonda has gone downhill rapidly since I last saw her

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:00 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

I can't knock the effort, but I can question the signing. I don't get this one at all. It looks good now, but how will it look in four years? How bad will the Tigers be defensively? How will they afford Verlander in 2014?

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 6:00 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

Someone tell him his face is falling off.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: January 24, 2012 5:53 pm

No mystery, Tigers Ilitch is one terrific owner

The Tigers signing Prince is really not all that surprising given the injury to VMART. Enough with the drama. With that said, how come none of these reports include the fact that Prince is going to be finishing his career (pressumably) in the city that his estranged dad Cecil was rocking it. I still remember that home run derby with young chubby Prince hugging ol dad. Ohhh, the memories. The whole thing is sort of poetic if you think about it. Good for you Detroit, there is not a better 3-4 combo in MLB.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or