Detroit Tigers: Could negative perceptions hurt chances at top free agents?
By Matt Pelc
Let’s face it, the biggest factor in 99% of athletes signing with teams in any sport is the money. If your team has enough of it, and is willing to spend it, you have a chance with pretty much any free agent out there.
Over the last decade or so, the Detroit Tigers have never shied away from giving out money to players in order to win the ultimate prize, coming into 2015 with the fourth highest payroll in baseball. This put them ahead of perceived bigger markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles (Angels), Chicago (both teams) and New York (Mets).
As we have already said, the Tigers will be spending money this offseason, but will they be able to go the extra mile to get the big named free agents?
While the Tigers have spent a lot of money in recent years, a lot of that has been to lock-in their future free agents such as Justin Verlander (extension in 2013) and Miguel Cabrera (extension in 2014). It has been awhile since they competed with other teams to land a big-named free agent, likely since the 2012 signing of Prince Fielder.
While signing Torii Hunter before the 2013 season was a big pickup, Hunter had the Tigers on his short list and, at the beginning of the downside of his career, did not have a whole lot of suitors.
Perhaps spurned by his refusal of a $144 million contract extension, the Tigers did not attempt to resign Max Scherzer this past off-season. They were also not involved in trying to get the second-best pitcher on the market, James Shields.
They seemed to be putting all their faith into keeping David Price, which leads us to our next topic….
Next: The Price was never right