Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has shown that he is willing to spend a lot of his money to create a winning team. One of the problems—from the ownership point of view, not the fans’ viewpoint—is that a winning team generally comes with really big salaries.
Even a team that wins the pennant with a group of young and relatively inexpensive players gets expensive very fast. Basically, in 21st-century MLB economics, it gets very expensive to keep the nucleus of a championship club together for more than a couple of years.
Detroit is now facing that issue. When considering whether to sign Max Scherzer to a long-term, very expensive contract, the club has to look at not only its 2014 payroll, but also what the market will be like three to six years from now. And so things that fans don’t think about—like whether the club can afford to re-sign Miguel Cabrera two years from now—directly impact decisions on players like Scherzer.
My guess is that Detroit will not trade Scherzer. It is highly unlikely that anyone the Tigers would obtain in a trade for Scherzer would be as valuable as he will be in 2014. So I think the team will go for the gold next year, figuring that winning the World Series might make it financially feasible to sign Scherzer as a free agent.
...The other big decision of the off-season will be deciding whether to commit to Nick Castellanos in left field in 2014. If the Detroit brain trust is not confident their prized prospect will be ready to handle the left field job soon, I expect Castellanos will be used in trade to find a solid veteran left fielder.
The other possibility would be to trade Rick Porcello for an outfielder and move Drew Smyly into the rotation next year. That means the Tigers will need to go out and find at least one reliable veteran southpaw via trade or free agency to bolster the bullpen.
If Detroit doesn’t win the world championship next year—especially if Prince Fielder doesn’t hit better than he did in his mediocre 2013—maybe it will be time to rebuild.
Posted: October 28, 2013 at 04:04 AM | 17 comment(s)
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