Detroit Tigers CEO Christopher Ilitch vows to spend in free agency

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers often dull and quiet president and CEO Christopher Ilitch finally seems primed to spend in free agency this upcoming winter.

Over the years, Ilitch has been reluctant to spend money in free agency since taking over for his legendary father. After the team hired manager A.J. Hinch this past offseason to run the ball club, suddenly the Detroit Tigers see three players contending for Rookie Of The Year honors. A coincidence? I think not.

The Detroit Tigers sit third in the American League Central division, firmly 12 games back of the Chicago White Sox.  Detroit is also 9.5 games back of the final Wild Card position.  I don’t think anyone expected this Tigers’ club to be a playoff team in 2021, but I also feel many would not have had them pegged to be a near .500 ball club come August.

It just goes to show you what a player development coach can do to a youthful roster.  A.J. Hinch has been down this road before with the Houston Astros, and the youthful Tigers core certainly possesses many similarities.

Detroit Tigers president and CEO Christopher Ilitch vows to spend in free agency.

Ilitch had been on-site at Hamtramck Stadium, breaking ground as plans are in place to renovate the historic ball diamond. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports that Chris Ilitch indicated the team is ready to become big spenders in free agency, potentially as early as the upcoming offseason.

"“Al (Avila, Tigers general manager) and his team are very focused on continuing to improve our team,” Ilitch said Tuesday, standing on the same infield grass where 18 Hall of Famers once played. “We see the long-term efforts put forth by his team and we see the emergence of a young core. And I think Al feels we need to continue to improve our ballclub in a high, impactful way.“And I fully support that and will support that.”“Undoubtedly this could happen this winter,” Ilitch said. “Al has been the architect of our vision. He and his staff have done all the hard work and our fans have been incredibly patient through this process. And I think Al’s vision is very much aligned with my vision and the fans’ vision — which is we want not only a highly competitive team, but we want to be a playoff contender and we want to compete for championships and do it on a long-term, sustainable basis."

It’s time to put up or shut up, Chris.

The Detroit Tigers have a tremendous core of cheap players producing in all facets of the game.  Akil Baddoo, Eric Haase, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Gregory Soto, Jose Cisnero, etc.  That group is complemented by veterans Miguel Cabrera, Robbie Grossman, Jonathan Schoop, and Jeimer Candelario.

Schoop is a pending free agent, and after producing back-to-back stellar seasons with the Detroit Tigers and hiring super-agent Scott Boras to represent him, there is no guarantee he will be back next season.

That leaves the Detroit Tigers with holes at shortstop and potentially second base.  Detroit will also be in the market to add a depth starting pitcher and likely a high leveraged reliever.

Next. A deep dive into Robbie Grossman’s 2021 season. dark

If Ilitch is, in fact, willing to put his money where his mouth is, things will be exciting next summer in Detroit.