Ilitch pushing hard for playoffs, maybe over prospects

In case there was any question lingering whether the pressure was on Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland to get Detroit its first division title since 1987, team owner Mike Ilitch reiterated his strong desire to win now. He didn’t say he expected a division title, but he wasn’t far off.

“I’d be extremely disappointed if we don’t [win one this year],” Ilitch said in a group interview recorded and posted by WXYT-FM 97.1. “We’ve got a good team.”

Though Ilitch was talking with Detroit media at the press conference for Red Wing Kris Draper’s retirement Tuesday morning at Joe Louis Arena, Ilitch spent a good amount of time talking about the Tigers. Like most Tigers fans, Ilitch is looking and waiting for his club to add a starting pitcher on the trade market before Sunday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. Payroll, Ilitch indicated, will not be an issue.

So far, by every indication, nothing is close. But judging by the owner’s comments, he’s open to plenty of possibilities, maybe even some that cost them coveted prospects.

“We need that No. 5 guy,” Ilitch said. “We’ve got some [pitching] prospects, but when you’re in a tough race like this, it’s hard to throw some of them in there when you’re a game or two this way or that way.”

Asked if he expects to have a deal by Sunday, Ilitch couldn’t say.

“I don’t know,” Ilitch said. “I haven’t been presented with anything. [Dombrowski] hasn’t been able to bring anything to me that he feels makes sense at this point.”

So far, the Tigers have been reluctant to part with top prospects in any trade since the Miguel Cabrera deal four years ago. Whenever the Tigers have been asked about Futures Game participant and potential 2012 starter Jacob Turner over the past year, they’ve indicated no willingness to deal him.

Part of that reflects Ilitch’s desire to build a strong farm system. But with the Tigers fighting to maintain their division lead, Ilitch hinted that waiting for prospects to emerge might have its limits. It was an interesting comment.

“We’ve done a fairly good job,” Ilitch said. “We’ve been competitive. I put a lot of emphasis on the farm system, and you can’t get carried away with the farm system. That Tommy John [surgery] always seems to surface.

“It looks like when you look at the system, geez, we’ve got six [top prospects] here. For sure, two are going to be stars. It just doesn’t work that way in baseball. It’s much different than some of the other sports.”


I don’t like to comment during the game but like Dan I said at the time for JV to throw a curve to Dunn. I also said to throw a high hard one to Konerko with 2 strikes. Jv guessed wrong or did not locate. Why didn’t we hit any home runs? The Tigers won the game and should come out with a load of confidence today. Very clutch on Betemit’s part. I agree with Mr. I. Don’t give up the “farm”. Dirks did look very fast. Maybe AJ should slide head first. Yes, let’s have a “Max”imum game today.

Well, all I can say is “Good Luck, Dave.” Every team we could deal for a pitcher is going to want our pitching prospects. Maybe some team that’s not in the race and wants to dump salary with Detroit paying is what he’s thinking might happen. Kind of confusing about that part, but not about winning the division.

and getting into the post-season.

I don’t really see us having many pitching prospects. There is Turner but after that I am pretty unimpressed, at least at the AA and AAA levels that I am slightly more familiar with.
My wish list for the Tigers is a renewed Austin Jackson. A guy who “wants” to get his uni dirty. I swear Austin is someday gonna try to steal 2nd standing up so as not to ruffle his tux. The guy is too close to the bag when he leads off from 1st. Easily goes back to the bag on a throw over. Grandy was belly down and outstretched every time. Get off the bag, get yourself closer to your destination and put the fear of speed in the pitcher’s mind. As I have said before, AJ plays with a relaxed attitude and doesn’t seem to have that fire in his belly. If he had that edge to him he would improve significantly as a ballplayer. I may be wrong but did he not play football in Texas? Where is that part of his game?

And stand closer to the plate!!!

Agreed. Did you see the close plays with Dirks diving back everytime?

Mr. I is right regarding prospects in baseball. A small percentage actually pan out, but the right package of prospects can be used to bring in established talent. The definition of “established talent” is what worries me. I prefer deals with the long term in mind, not two month rentals that probably won’t improve your team that much anyway. I’m afraid DD will pull off the equivalent of a Renteria-Jurrjens deal, pay too much to get us a mid-level “innings eater” or the like. Nate Robertson was supposedly an innings eater. I guess that means you take six innings to get beat, not four.
I hate this trade deadline “event”. Too much pressure for GMs to do something, anything. Get a star pitcher or let it go.

That pressure is double when your job is on the line. Dombrowski will trade whomever it takes to keep his reigns in TigerTown. Sadly, I believe that would include Turner if he deemed it necessary.

I think you guys are both right. The big thing is to get a “quality” starter. Deadline trading be damned–just do it before the Tribe does. Getting a guy like Kuroda or Bedard would be good and it serves the double purpose of preventing the Indians from doing it before us!
From what I hear, we should hang on to Turner. I hope they do. Any other starter down there is fine by me. Crosby and Oliver aren’t likely to figure it out anytime soon anyway and they are the kind of arms that maybe, could be interesting to another team. Furbush and Below too. I like the potential of Furbush, but he has a lot of work to do holding runners on base.

Sox busy in the trade market. Edwin going. Blue Jays are getting Colby Rasmus apparently. in a 3 team deal. They will have a pretty nice OF alignment with him, Snider, Thames and Rajai Davis, Bautista and Corey Patterson. I presume one of the incumbents will be gone.
Edwin sure moves around a lot.

Looks like Raburn in left, Avila catching and Boesch on the bench today. I would have rested Avila and played Boesch.

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