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Chris Ilitch Vows That The Tigers Will Be More Aggressive This Offseason

This is basically Chris Ilitch’s last chance. This Tigers team has not been good, but they’ve been good enough to get some people’s attention. It’s not out of a realm of possibility that the young core they have right now could be part of a playoff team at some point soon. As mind boggling as many of the moves that Al Avila has made of the last few years have been, there is a legitimate light at the end of the tunnel. The ball is completely in Chris Ilitch’s court, and that scares me.

There is a remarkable amount of vagueness that comes with most of what Chris Ilitch says. “We’ll spend when the time is right” has been the company log line for the better part of 5 years now. In Chris Ilitch’s slight defense, I don’t think signing any great players too big time free agent contracts would have done this team many favors over the last few years. This team was going to be a bottom feeder no matter what. In my opinion, their first real opportunity to make moves was last offseason, and with that came a lot of mixed results. Robbie Grossman and Jonathan Schoop (who was re-signed after playing for the Tigers in 2020) have been solid signings who I’d be in favor of seeing in Detroit for a few more years. Two of their signings, Nomar Mazara and Jose Urena, amassed a collective WAR of -1.0. Mazara is no longer on the team and Urena is currently on the I.L. Julio Tehran was also signed to a minor league deal and made the team out of spring training. He made 1 start before going on the I.L. It has been a mixed bag, and Chris Ilitch can afford no more mixed bags.

“More aggressive” could mean a million different things. I mean, it’s almost impossible to be less aggressive. We are talking about a baseball team that has signed exactly ONE multi-year contract since 2016, and that was the 2 year, 10 million dollar contract that they gave to Robbie Grossman last year. In a market as big as Detroit, that’s practically unacceptable. While I’m in favor of being more aggressive, simply being more aggressive won’t be good enough this offseason. There’s 3-4 All-Star caliber free agents shortstops on the market this offseason, the Tigers needs to sign one of them. If you want to bring Justin Verlander back on a 1 year deal, have at it. While you’re at it, give Jonathan Schoop a nice extension to fill the second base void, because I don't Kody Clemens  filling that void. 

I think I’ve been pretty open about how far away this team has been to contending over the last several seasons, but I genuinely don’t think they are that far away right now. They’ve been 1 or 2 legitimate bats away from winning a lot of games this year. Have they been punching above their weight class at points? For sure. They probably aren’t as talented as they’ve played over the last several months, but that doesn’t mean they are void of talent. For the first time since this rebuild began, I see a future. People are starting to care again. Now it’s time to spend the money.