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Meanwhile .. Former Tigers

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3 hours ago, Oblong said:

I'm trying to think of a case in sports history, at least in the modern era, of a team like the Tigers that lost so many good players like this.  Usually when a team has a lot of good players they just get old and suck. 

 

It's like the Dombrowski/ Avila Tigers are the poor man's LAD since '91.

Much like those Tigers teams, LAD has spared no expense when it came to making trades or signing big FA All-Stars:  Eric Davis, Darryl Strawberry, Jeff Kent, Hideo Nomo, Shawn Green, Gary Sheffield, Devon White, Kevin Brown, Marquis Grissom, Hiroki Kuroda, AGon, Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Zack Greinke, Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick,  and Chase Utley.  Unlike the Tigers, the Dodgers have had a really good farm system to pull from, winning ROY from '92-'96 (Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo and Hollandsworth), with Seager and Bellanger winning in '16 and '17.  They have held onto talents through their primes like Gagne, Kershaw, Kemp, Ethier, Puig, Jansen, Pederson and now Wood... but haven't won a WS in 30 years.

In '92 I spent my spring break watching LAD ST.   In '93, I watched ST from front to back with a keen eye on some rookie who was trying to beat out Lance Parrish for a spot on the team.  This is one of the largest collections of talent I've ever seen at the MLB level at one time, and the team only touched .500 in '93. Aside from the below players, the team also featured Ramon Martinez, Brett Butler and Eric Karros.

Mike Piazza, won 4 SS and made 6 AS teams with Mets

Pedro Martinez, became Pedro F****** Martinez after being traded for Delino DeShields

Darryl Strawberry, won two WS with NYY and thrived as a platoon bat

Eric Davis, OPS of .917 and .970 at ages 34 and 36 after leaving the NL, leaving Detroit and beating cancer

Eric Young, stole 459 bases after leaving the Dodgers after his rookie year after being left unprotected in Exp Dft.  AS/SS in '96

Tom Goodwin, Stole 360 bases after being waived by Dodgers, who couldn't carry him as a 5th OF

Orel Hershiser, made it back to a WS with CLE.  One of the few players to win an ALCS MVP and NLCS MVP.

Henry Rodriguez, traded to MTL for Joey Eischen and Roberto Kelly after being 4th OF.  Hit 140 HR in 5 yrs after trade, AS '96.

Raul Mondesi, 117 HR in his first-four post Dodgers years, career-high 18 AST in 2001.

 

This was some five seasons before 19-year-old Adrian Beltre came to camp, teased with production potential--year after year--until he lit it up with 1.017 OPS in his contract year--and promptly left.   

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6 hours ago, Oblong said:

I'm trying to think of a case in sports history, at least in the modern era, of a team like the Tigers that lost so many good players like this.  Usually when a team has a lot of good players they just get old and suck. 

 

FLA Marlins

 

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19 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

This is, after all, why they call it 'mortgaging the future' when you make short term moves with bad long term implications to try to push a team across the finish line. Whether you make it or not, and just to add insult to injury the Tigers didn't get a WS win, you end up with a millstone around you future ability to rebuild in terms of bad contracts and system depletion. I'm sure there are people complaining about how bad things are who were right in the front row over the last 6 or so years hollering that they didn't care what happened later, the very mostest importantest thing was do make every move possible right now to win that WS. And probably Mike Ilitch was the leader of that pack - so nothing really could have ended up differently.

Speaking only for myself I was one of those hollering for the team to do what they could do to maximize the "today" potential of the roster... I realized that could cause a rupture after Mike I passed away, but the alternative was to start a crappy rebuild with a crappy future even earlier than we did.

Alot of smart folks like Randy Marsh believe in the rebuild as a deliberate strategy that can be replicated by good GMs, but I dont see the evidence that supports this theory.

Rebuilding is a low percentage shot in the dark, even for good GMs, with the rare exception of rebuild superstar GMs such as Epstein or in the case of the Cardinals; these are the extreme exceptions of front office people who did it multiple times.  I'm not yet convinced that the Astros art a one off.

The vast majority of teams only become reliably competitive for a few years because they capitalize on decent to good talent with some additional spending.   Getting to the point of having decent to good talent to start with depends on whether you screwed up your system or not.

The Tigers did not become a bad team by trading away minor league talent; it was by going the fire sale + rebuild route, a deliberate move endorsed by many on this board that I never agreed with.   I'm not sure the exact right strategy should have been but  I am strongly convicted that this will not work with Avila at the helm....though I do think he had a pretty successful off season but the acquisitions of Liriano, Feirs, Goodrum and Martin....I wish he had made high quality complimentary acquisitions like these when the team still had top flight talent.

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31 minutes ago, sabretooth said:

 I'm not sure the exact right strategy should have been but  I am strongly convicted that this will not work with Avila at the helm....though I do think he had a pretty successful off season but the acquisitions of Liriano, Feirs, Goodrum and Martin....I wish he had made high quality complimentary acquisitions like these when the team still had top flight talent.

I guess in the end it's all about system strength. How do you build and maintain it? In the end there are only a few routes possible.

1) You can consistently manage trades that bring back more system value than they cost. This is probably pretty hard to do long term as if you get too good at it every other GM will assume that you are better at scouting their system then they are and resist your offers - though it certainly can work for a while. The trade to bring Cabrera here being the prototype trade. Though it also depended on #3 below.

2) Another is just to draft better over the long haul. Now a lot of people argue that this is just not really possible because MLB talent is just too randomly distributed while simultaneously hidden, in the draft pool. But hope springs eternal that it really is possible. The is pretty much the only route that promises sustainable success. It is certainly a topic where various new player evaluation methodologies are trying to prove themselves.

3) Another is just to be willing to spend more on everything than anyone else - including scouting, development and FAs on the theory that more money will eventually buy enough talent. This and number 1 were basically Dombrowski's strategy in Det. This is also the basic scheme in Bos, NYY and LAD. Of course the limitation is your team has to be able to generate the income, and the CBA and lux tax system works against being able to hold a lot of high end talent very long.

4) The last is to deliberately try to cycle your team over some period where you are bad enough long enough to collect so many high draft picks that you overwhelm the limitations of paragraph 2, then try to win before the limitations to holding talent at low cost kick in. This seems to be the route of choice in the league today. But like anything else, the more people in the same end of the pool, the harder it is to swim laps around anyone.

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Avila wasn't in charge when they had 'top flight talent.' The rebuild would've started after Dombrowski left but Ilitch wanted to go for it in 2016. That set the timeline back.

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13 minutes ago, kdog said:

Avila wasn't in charge when they had 'top flight talent.' The rebuild would've started after Dombrowski left but Ilitch wanted to go for it in 2016. That set the timeline back.

I'm not sure we'd even be in a rebuild right now if Zimmermann had had a better year in 2016 so that the Tigers made the playoffs.

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7 minutes ago, lordstanley said:

I'm not sure we'd even be in a rebuild right now if Zimmermann had had a better year in 2016 so that the Tigers made the playoffs.

Once Chris Ilitch got the reins, they were always going to tank/cut costs. So this was inevitable.

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6 minutes ago, kdog said:

Once Chris Ilitch got the reins, they were always going to tank/cut costs. So this was inevitable.

A popular opinion stated without any factual evidence.   I would counter that if the team were winning, making $$ and drawing hordes of people downtown he would have spent the $$ to keep it going.   That's just good business and if nothing else the Illitchs are good at business.

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32 minutes ago, LooseGoose said:

A popular opinion stated without any factual evidence.   I would counter that if the team were winning, making $$ and drawing hordes of people downtown he would have spent the $$ to keep it going.   That's just good business and if nothing else the Illitchs are good at business.

I'll be diplomatic. He wasn't going to deficit spend to prolong a dying era. The guy has been running the Red Wings for years and it's a trainwreck. We will see if they are willing to really spend big once the prospects start coming. There's a way to jumpstart a rebuild and not just wait for a bunch of kids to come up.

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7 minutes ago, kdog said:

I'll be diplomatic. He wasn't going to deficit spend to prolong a dying era. The guy has been running the Red Wings for years and it's a trainwreck. We will see if they are willing to really spend big once the prospects start coming. There's a way to jumpstart a rebuild and not just wait for a bunch of kids to come up.

Yeah, it's argument with no resolution until the time comes to spend.

I really think your example of the Red Wings isn't especially telling on the spending argument.   I don't know that a failure to spend has caused the problems there.   Who did they let go or not acquire as a result of saving $$?   In some ways it is similar to the Tigers in that they've been saddled with some excessive contracts on aging veterans.   You could almost say that over there he's also trying to dig out of his Dad's spending.

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41 minutes ago, LooseGoose said:

A popular opinion stated without any factual evidence.   I would counter that if the team were winning, making $$ and drawing hordes of people downtown he would have spent the $$ to keep it going.   That's just good business and if nothing else the Illitchs are good at business.

Relatively speaking they are still drawing hordes of people downtown.  They've got LCA and other entities going full throttle.  There's an event at LCA pretty much every night now.  The merging of Olympia and the Palace in terms of concerts, etc. has been a gold mine.  So any extra revenue they get from drawing 30,000 rather than 20,000 fans is off set by the significant drop in payroll.  I go to all the Friday games. There's still a lot of people there.  Lots of young people.  They're not in the seats.  They are out in the upper deck bar.  As we're walking out they're still out there drinking.

With a hard cap in hockey he'll always make money with the Wings regardless of record.  Same with the Tigers.  They're not going to lose money any more.  The results on the field are articial in terms of business success.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, kdog said:

Once Chris Ilitch got the reins, they were always going to tank/cut costs. So this was inevitable.

Not sure about "always going to tank" ..but definitely agree with "cut costs".  It was widely known that Chris Ilitch would run the team as a 'business' instead of as 'personal' dream like his father Mike did.  Even I knew Chris would not continue to overspend like his father did ..which inevitably was going to cause the team to dump several of the higher salaried talent, ..which also inevitably was going to leave the team with less talent overall, ..and thus a worse team overall.

The organization remains a train wreck even during the initial stages of this so-called 'rebuild. (IMHO.)

Chris Ilitch, Jim Leyland, Al Avila, Lloyd McClendon, Phil Clark, Dave Clark, Dave Owen, David Chadd, Kevin Rand ..these baseball personnel are, quite simply, unimpressive in-my-opinion.

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7 minutes ago, Oblong said:

With a hard cap in hockey he'll always make money with the Wings regardless of record.  Same with the Tigers.  They're not going to lose money any more.  The results on the field are articial in terms of business success.

fans should understand this. Any sports  league is really a single business designed for all of it's branch offices to make money.

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3 minutes ago, LooseGoose said:

In some ways it is similar to the Tigers in that they've been saddled with some excessive contracts on aging veterans. 

Which excessive contracts on aging players have the Tigers been saddled with?  Prince is gone, Porcello is gone, Price is gone, Upton is gone, Nathan is gone, Anibal is gone, Kinsler is gone, JV is gone, JD is gone, Pelfrey is gone, Lowe is gone, ...so basically only have Victor (bad bad decision to resign him for 4 more years like they did), Zimmerman (no one could have known he'd totally tank), and Miggy (whom they basically decided will ultimately retire as a Tiger.)

 

Basically, exactly what has Chris Ilitch and/or Al Avila done to actually improve the team ..except talk and praise themselves?

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16 minutes ago, Tigrrfan said:

Which excessive contracts on aging players have the Tigers been saddled with?  Prince is gone, Porcello is gone, Price is gone, Upton is gone, Nathan is gone, Anibal is gone, Kinsler is gone, JV is gone, JD is gone, Pelfrey is gone, Lowe is gone, ...so basically only have Victor (bad bad decision to resign him for 4 more years like they did), Zimmerman (no one could have known he'd totally tank), and Miggy (whom they basically decided will ultimately retire as a Tiger.)

 

Basically, exactly what has Chris Ilitch and/or Al Avila done to actually improve the team ..except talk and praise themselves?

I wasn't referring to only today but I think the 3 you mentioned still fit - $70M or so for this year isn't chump change.

I'm not going to go look up all the dates but when MrI died most of the contracts you count as gone were there for Chris and Avila to deal with.

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33 minutes ago, LooseGoose said:

 

I really think your example of the Red Wings isn't especially telling on the spending argument.   I don't know that a failure to spend has caused the problems there.   Who did they let go or not acquire as a result of saving $$?   In some ways it is similar to the Tigers in that they've been saddled with some excessive contracts on aging veterans.   You could almost say that over there he's also trying to dig out of his Dad's spending.

Agreed. I think a GM like Avila would have been better suited for the Red Wings' rebuild. An active trader who considers no one on the roster untouchable and is focused on getting rid of vets and contracts for whatever the market will bear has a chance of turning around an NHL franchise relatively quickly, especially with an owner prepared to spend to the cap.

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Avila and Chris Ilitch don't have the credibility of their predecessors. I still don't have a grasp on Avila's process with talent procurement and evaluation. The results are mixed to poor at best.

And Chris ilitch was running the Wings(primarily with the new arena) long before his father passed. He was given a chance to change course and fire Ken Holland and instead he doubled down and they made signings to try to be mediocre instead of accepting that they're bad.

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1 hour ago, LooseGoose said:

I'm not going to go look up all the dates but when MrI died most of the contracts you count as gone were there for Chris and Avila to deal with.

Perhaps true, ..they were there for Chris and Avila to deal with ..but realistically ..most of them are still truly helping other teams be better than they might be without them. 

And honestly  ..they basically got nothing for 'dealing' most of them away.

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1 hour ago, lordstanley said:

Agreed. I think a GM like Avila would have been better suited for the Red Wings' rebuild. An active trader who considers no one on the roster untouchable and is focused on getting rid of vets and contracts for whatever the market will bear has a chance of turning around an NHL franchise relatively quickly, especially with an owner prepared to spend to the cap.

What criteria have you used where you expecting Avila to turn the Tigers around 'relatively quickly' ..and can you provide a time-table as to how 'relatively quickly' you think he will do it?

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Let me see if I follow. Holland is bad because he won’t admit the team is bad and strip it down. Avila is bad because he stripped it down and won’t sign anyone. And Chris ilitch is behind it all. 

I do wonder what it would have taken to avoid trading verlander and JD and upton and kinsler. Perhaps extending JD a couple years ago. 

Would a willingness to pay a luxury tax have been enough? Kinsler and Martinez would have come off the books after this year and at just the right time. 

Would having the four guys we traded away this year made this team a contender?

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32 minutes ago, Shelton said:

 

Would having the four guys we traded away this year made this team a contender?

Not in my opinion. The pitching has been a little better than expected but it still has not been any better than 500 team quality. They would have needed to have kept Verlander plus have two other good starters. We thought Fulmer was one but he hasn't been. Clearly if they still had Procello and Scherzer (or Price) with JV  with Boyd and Hardy at the back that staff would give you a shot. JV Fulmer and Zimmermann were supposed to be a contending staff but that crashed and burned with Zimmermann's neck and whatever is wrong with Fulmer.

I wasn't happy with the JV trade because I had still thought they might have a shot at turning it around faster, but I think I was pretty wrong.

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Fiers with a gritty performance against Kershaw and the Dodgers last night.  Need to add him to the list. 

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14 hours ago, Shelton said:

Let me see if I follow. Holland is bad because he won’t admit the team is bad and strip it down. Avila is bad because he stripped it down and won’t sign anyone. And Chris ilitch is behind it all. 

I do wonder what it would have taken to avoid trading verlander and JD and upton and kinsler. Perhaps extending JD a couple years ago. 

Would a willingness to pay a luxury tax have been enough? Kinsler and Martinez would have come off the books after this year and at just the right time. 

Would having the four guys we traded away this year made this team a contender?

Just to pick nits, Upton had the out clause in his contract this past offseason.  So there was no guarantee that he would be back this season.  The Tigers might have had to dig deeper into the couch cushions to retain/replace Upton.

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19 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

I guess in the end it's all about system strength. How do you build and maintain it? In the end there are only a few routes possible.

1) You can consistently manage trades that bring back more system value than they cost. This is probably pretty hard to do long term as if you get too good at it every other GM will assume that you are better at scouting their system then they are and resist your offers - though it certainly can work for a while. The trade to bring Cabrera here being the prototype trade. Though it also depended on #3 below.

2) Another is just to draft better over the long haul. Now a lot of people argue that this is just not really possible because MLB talent is just too randomly distributed while simultaneously hidden, in the draft pool. But hope springs eternal that it really is possible. The is pretty much the only route that promises sustainable success. It is certainly a topic where various new player evaluation methodologies are trying to prove themselves.

3) Another is just to be willing to spend more on everything than anyone else - including scouting, development and FAs on the theory that more money will eventually buy enough talent. This and number 1 were basically Dombrowski's strategy in Det. This is also the basic scheme in Bos, NYY and LAD. Of course the limitation is your team has to be able to generate the income, and the CBA and lux tax system works against being able to hold a lot of high end talent very long.

4) The last is to deliberately try to cycle your team over some period where you are bad enough long enough to collect so many high draft picks that you overwhelm the limitations of paragraph 2, then try to win before the limitations to holding talent at low cost kick in. This seems to be the route of choice in the league today. But like anything else, the more people in the same end of the pool, the harder it is to swim laps around anyone.

Outstanding post....agreed.   I think the Tigers have stuck themselves now with number 2 above but don't have the ability to pull it off successfully.   

For myself, I see a long grind with Chris ilitch and Al Avila....maybe not as bad as the Randy Smith era but its still likely to be a failure to compete for a long time. 

Oh well, as long as Chris Ilitch can make money while losing consistently, I know fans will likely be happier and better off than they were with Mike I, DD and Jim Leyland winning with a big payroll.  Salary scolds FTW :)

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We'll have an optimum Win per $ ratio and a solid #13 farm system for years to come.

In all seriousness I'm not a Debbie Downer.  I'll give this group the benefit of the doubt because it is a new regime and we don't know the internal workings of the FO.  They do have some supposedly smart guys back there.  They're not going to hit on every trade or signing.  The other clubs also have very smart guys so the Tigers are still probably in catch up mode to the rest of the league.  The real test comes when they actually do have to spend money to go to another level.  Until we reach that point any  comment about Ilitch's philosphy is just speculation.

I'm still 50/50 on whether the team remains in the Ilitch family.

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