Ilitch talks Tigers at Red Wings press conference

Apparently Mike Ilitch was at the Red Wings’ press conference to announce their new contract for Henrik Zetterberg, and a baseball press conference broke out. And by all accounts, Ilitch is happy with the way things went for the Tigers this offseason. From the Detroit Free Press story (sorry, I don’t get to go to hockey press conferences):

“I know that when you take chances every so often, you’re going to miss every once in a while,” the Tigers owner said. “And we missed on some. But that’s part of the game. We’ve just got to be a little more careful. But I’m not going to change.”

There was one other quote from the story that I thought stood out.

“Getting humbled a little bit, going from the top to the bottom, I think that’s a pretty big shock to myself, [president/general manager Dave Dombrowski] and our manager,” Ilitch said. “I think we’ll stabilize this year and then, next year, we’ll become very, very aggressive and, hopefully, we’ve got a steady ship and team chemistry.”

In other words, this winter could simply be a one-year slumber for the Tigers on the offseason market.

Reading this brought back a reminder of something Ilitch said during his season-ending remarks at Comerica Park back in September, when he was asked about the team payroll for 2009 and how that would effect offseason changes.

“I’m not sure what we would do on payroll,” he said then. “That would be the last thing that I’m going to look at. I mean, I’m not afraid to go out and spend money. It’s been very costly, but I’m not going to change my ways. But I don’t know if this year is the year to go after people. I’m more concerned about getting the team in shape and seeing who we’ve got and who are the real Detroit Tigers.”

In other words, the Tigers can still spend money, but this might not have been the best offseason in which to spend it. And those remarks came before the brunt of the economic slide.

On an unrelated note, a 12-year contract? For a hockey player? Wow.

5 Comments

I saw this article and the corresponding one on the News’ site. I thought it was interesting that Mr I. didn’t refer to Leyland by name, calling him “our manager”. I’m probably reading a lot into that, but it seemed kind of cold and may be an indication of how much he (Leyland) is in the dog house this year.
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It’s nice to know that they haven’t completely sworn off spending money.
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I’m ready for spring training to start.
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matt

I noticed that, too, Matt. It’s interesting. I remember him doing that a few years with a free agent the Tigers were trying to get. It might’ve been Miguel Tejada after the ’03 season. I’d have to look it up. I don’t remember him ever doing that with Pudge.

In my opinion Leyland being in the dog house is where he deserves to be. He mismanaged last year and actually showed signs he was losing control over his players, notwithstanding the bluster and rhetoric.
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He is a good baseball man but I do think one of his problems is his gruffness and stubborness. I hope he develops a ‘vision” for this upcoming season.
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I see there is still chatter about getting the lefty Parrish. Pleeeze! This guy has a 4.5 career ERA, gives up more hits than innings and walks about 6 batters per every 9 innings.
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I like the chance we might see Fien or Darrow. Darrow has given up just 1 HR in 2 seasons of minor league ball. Fien is a control freak. He just throws strike upon strike and his WHIP borders on phenomenal. He can get you strikeout when you need it too. He’s 25 years old and I’ll bet he’s ready.

Management has stood tall in the aftermath of the disastrous ’08 season. They’ve admitted to the mistakes that were made and addressed them as well as could possibly be expected, while keeping media and fans fairly well apprised of what was going on. While I was one calling for Leyland’s scalp last season, I think his return on a one-year contract is entirely justified. Some skippers would have been fired by the end of last May, but there seems to be a realization that some of this was beyond JL’s control. Beyond the injuries and players being unprepared and out of shape, management realized they’d given Jim an ill-fitting team, like a fleet of shiny Cadillacs that wouldn’t all fit into the same garage. Thus, “our manager” gets one more shot at it. Fair enough. That does NOT mean I won’t be howling everytime he does something I don’t agree with. :-)
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Dan, are you doing Fantasy Camp this year?
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–Rich

Hi Rich. No. Personal reasons and the downturn in the economy have suggested it might be better for me to try next year. Our Canadian dollar which was soaring not too-too long ago has been hammered by the decline in commodities and has devalued itself against the American buck. The camp would cost me 25% more than it would have when I first inquired.
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On JL: I like him, (I like him a lot), to be honest with you and to tell you the truth, I hope he is comeback manger of the year. I just don’t like the chip on his shoulder and feel it counter-productive.
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Any old slo-pitch teams out there looking for great tournament to go to in September? Let me know I will send you the details.

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