Three reasons the Detroit Tigers will struggle to bring in top talent via free agency

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox / Rich Gagnon/GettyImages
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1. The Detroit Tigers aren't ready to compete

Harris has committed himself to making smart baseball decisions without putting a timeframe on a turnaround. Bringing in star talent is surely a way to accelerate their competitive window, but with so many needs to address, it's difficult to imagine they would be willing to tie up so many resources in a single player.

As much as we as fans want to ignore money and what it takes to sign players, it's a real variable to ownership and Harris; and while part of Harris' job is to convince ownership that certain moves are worth the financial investment, budgets do exist. The Tigers were 25th in payroll in 2021 and have shed Jeimer Candelario, Robbie Grossman, Andrew Chafin, and Michael Pineda. This isn't an argument that the club doesn't have funds to spend big or whether they should, I'm just not convinced they will considering the club is two or three years out from making real noise, anyway.

Chafin, in choosing to stay close to home as we referenced earlier, is the exception rather than the rule--and would be even more of an exception for star talent. Understandably, many are in line for life-changing contracts. Seeking out higher bidders doesn't make them greedy, it just means they can do the math.

It goes beyond financials, though. Take Aaron Judge or Trea Turner or Xander Boegarts or Justin Verlander. All are in line for huge deals, but all are leaving teams that want them back and are better positioned to win. It's infinitely easier to sell a veteran free agent on, "we're built to win now, look at our roster" than to say, "we're going to win in the future, trust us."

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