Now that the ultimate Detroit Tigers fan, Mike Ilitch, has been laid to rest, questions about the team have arisen.
The new owner of the Detroit Tigers is now Chris Ilitch.
After enjoying the Mike Ilitch version of the Tigers since 1992, fans have some worries about the reigns passing to the son. The unknown is always worrisome.
But, Rob Manfred, the MLB Commissioner, feels that the Tigers will be cared for by Chris Ilitch. At Media Day in Lakeland, Manfred addressed the worries that the fans are feeling.
Remembering Mr. I
He began by sharing how fortunate Detroit was to have the elder Ilitch as an owner. Evan Woodbury at MLive recorded Manfred’s words: “Mr. Ilitch was the best of baseball in the sense that he was a pillar of the community in Detroit…No one wanted to win more than Mike did. His death was a real loss for the game.”
His words may or may not bring a sense of relief to fans of the Tigers, who have been bombarded with rumors about Chris Ilitch’s intentions for the team. But, in the words of Chris Ilitch, reported by Dave Bartkowiak Jr. with Click On Detroit: “My father truly lived his life well, and I will work hard to uphold his spirit, his values and his remarkable legacy.”
But, will things change? Will the Tigers continue to be a top spender in the MLB? Will Chris Ilitch sell the Tigers?
Fans Can Relax
Will Burchfield with Detroit’s CBS station shared a bit of news that should allow Tigers’ fans to relax a bit. According to his article, Chris Ilitch has been running Ilitch Holdings since 2004. The big payroll moves began after time, so it is safe to say that Chris Ilitch has been involved in those deals that secured Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Upton.
In the same article, Burchfield shares some words from Al Avila regarding the harmonious relationship between the two men. Avila said: “I’ve got to know him [Chris Ilitch] pretty well and we have a great relationship. You could say almost like brothers, really.” Avila also shared that they have the same goals for the team.
Hopefully, that includes a World Series win – sooner, rather than later.
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This still means that the goal to reduce payroll is a reality. With the words from Manfred, Avila, and Chris Ilitch, it does not look like Tigers fans will need to worry about big changes happening quickly. But, the trade deadline in the season could be the start.
What about the Trade Deadline?
The trade deadline will be in the hands of the players. With the reduction of payroll and a World Series ring two serious goals, the players have to perform. If they are in an honest run for the playoffs, it is safe to say that big sell-offs will not happen at the trade deadline. But, if the players do not produce, the second-half Tigers could look very different from the first-half Tigers.
Chris Ilitch may hold the purse strings, but the players are in control of their futures with the team. If they can deliver, we fans will get to enjoy our daily doses of Miggy, Verlander, J.D. Martinez, and Ian Kinsler for a little bit longer.