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Meanwhile .. Former Tigers

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10 minutes ago, Oblong said:

...we don't know the internal workings of the FO.

I think we know enough about Ilitch and Avila to be very concerned about the future of the team.  Giving them the "benefit of a doubt" is fine, but in reality it suggests that the future of the organization for the next 5 to 8 years does not appear very promising right now.

 

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Not counting moves that were orchestrated by Mike Ilitch I don't see what Avila has done so wrong.    He got K-Rod for peanuts, signed Maybin who was a big help, signed Salty who was a help in 2016,  clearly won the Wilson and Avila trade, traded Verlander(who fangraphs at the time said was untradeable unless you ate half the salary) not only did he trade him, he got 2 top 100 prospects and our top catching prospect for, don't know how you can fault him there.   He signed Fiers, Liriano and Martin off the scrap heap this offseason and all contributed positively and two of them he was able to flip at the deadline.   On top of that he signed Goodrum off the scrap heap who has been relatively solid.   Yeah you can argue he whiffed on the JD trade but that is questionable cause we don't know what was offered.   

Avila has boosted our scouting department, analytics department and farm system.  He has made a handful of low cost signings that panned out, got more for Verlander than anybody thought was possible, flipped Wilson for our future 3B  yet despite all this people still trash him.   Sure he made some mistakes but what GM hasn't?  

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GMs want the trades to work out for both teams.  You develop relationships with other GMs and I'm sure you don't want to be known as someone who screws the other guy over...you aren't going to get much cooperation from other GMs with that sort of reputation.  

 

I am ambivalent towards Avila.  People probably don't like him because the Tigers are going to suck for a long, long time and he is in charge.  People hated Herbert Hoover for a long time after the great depression even though he had nothing to do with it happening.

And of course, the fact that he got 3 back up minor league middle infielders for JD Martinez hasn't helped matters.

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2 hours ago, Casimir said:

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.

Yeah, I remember. But if the team was going to keep all of these stars, I would assume that they would have been in the market to try to keep him or at least spend something to try to replace him if he left. I tend to think that he would not have opted out. It never got to that point with the Angels. Maybe his agent convinced them he would opt out and they were terrified of losing him or something. I still don’t understand why they didn’t call his bluff. 

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There was no market for JD, I don't get why people don't see that.  Jay Bruce had nearly a 900 OPS and plays much better defense than JD could dream of and the Indians got him for a fraction of what the Tigers got for Martinez.   That shows how little the need was for a corner outfielder among the contenders last year. 

 

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58 minutes ago, RandyMarsh said:

There was no market for JD, I don't get why people don't see that.  Jay Bruce had nearly a 900 OPS and plays much better defense than JD could dream of and the Indians got him for a fraction of what the Tigers got for Martinez.   That shows how little the need was for a corner outfielder among the contenders last year. 

 

And of course the "back up middle infielders" assertion is pure speculation right now from a random interwebz person.

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21 hours ago, Oblong said:

Relatively speaking they are still drawing hordes of people downtown. 

the bigger question is whether their TV revenue is tied to ratings. If it is then winning is important because in its absence ratings have tanked.

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Yes... but I'd throw out that there's also the risk/reward thing.  Is it better to make whatever the team makes now with their payroll shrinking or risk that profit by spending a lot more?  If spending more won't lead to a significant rise in ratings due to winning then they might see it's financially better to lose 95-100 games with a small payroll rather than lose 80-85 games with a higher payroll.

Will the ratings only be as high as you need it to be with a legit contender?  If so then you have to adjust your expectations for a few years and keep a small payroll.

Because of national revenue even the worst teams will turn a profit if they keep their payroll small enough.  If you know it's going to be bad for awhile then it's probably better that way.  

When I go to games I still see enough people down there to make me think it's ok financially.  During the last rebuild the city itself was not a destination so that magnified the apathy.  If fans know the team's in a rebuild it's ok becuse they're still downtown, still outside, and it's still a party.  

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1 hour ago, Shelton said:

Yeah, I remember. But if the team was going to keep all of these stars, I would assume that they would have been in the market to try to keep him or at least spend something to try to replace him if he left. I tend to think that he would not have opted out. It never got to that point with the Angels. Maybe his agent convinced them he would opt out and they were terrified of losing him or something. I still don’t understand why they didn’t call his bluff. 

Actually it did. Upton and his agent were able to convince the Tigers he was opting out, so he got traded to the Angels. Then Upton and his agent were able to convince the Angels he was opting out, so he got an extra year added to his contract. 2 teams thought he was going to opt out.

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25 minutes ago, Oblong said:

Yes... but I'd throw out that there's also the risk/reward thing. ....

No arg with any of this. 

I am willing to take Avila at his word that they do want to win as much as they can as soon as they can. And I think historical attendance and television ratings say that the Tigers do have the revenue potential to support a relatively expensive team (e.g. much more than the average mid market team eg. KC/StL/Denver)  - IF it is winning. So yes - it all comes down to tactics. I agree they are not going to spend until they think they are in a position to win by doing it.

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7 hours ago, Casimir said:

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

I want to be the first to call this another failed trade by Avila.   No sense waiting to find out who we got or how they develop.

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6 hours ago, Oblong said:

My question on this is.... does he share this with the team at the time?  

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2790162-the-road-that-brought-justin-verlander-back

 

This covers a lot of what I am concerned about with Cabrera. As JV found out, body elasticity is more important than strength in throwing hard. It's the elastic stretch and snap back that gives you 100 mph - not brute strength. Some of this also reminds me of what Giselle Bunchen ended up teaching Brady about. (Also an interesting point  that women have to be more skeptical of their docs!) But these guys are taught from the time they are 12 to train for strength, and it is just not always the answer -esp as you get older. It can't be a cookie cutter approach. If a team doesn't have people on it's training staff that customize their approach to each athlete's task, body type and *age*, they are missing out getting optimal health/performance from their players.

 

EDIT: looking over this story I note the claim that JV was working on his rehab 6 hours a day. That's the kind of dedication Miggy is going to need to bring as well.

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Having a wife who is a therapist and also a marathon runner I do understand that medical science is all over the place.  She and a few friends had issues and after probably a dozen different doctors and sports medical people they found a guy at St. Joe's that all 3 swear by.  But jeez....

 

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A family friend is a sports medicine doctor, and she is the first to tell you that a (frighteningly) large percentage of doctors aren't terribly effective.

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7 hours ago, RatkoVarda said:

Actually it did. Upton and his agent were able to convince the Tigers he was opting out, so he got traded to the Angels. Then Upton and his agent were able to convince the Angels he was opting out, so he got an extra year added to his contract. 2 teams thought he was going to opt out.

Actually, it didn’t, because he never actually opted out. They can say whatever they want to try to get a better deal. The teams were welcome to call his bluff. No reason for the tigers to do so because there is no way they actually wanted him to opt in when they were going to rebuild. Not sure why the angels didn’t in this free agent market. 

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21 hours ago, Oblong said:

Yes... but I'd throw out that there's also the risk/reward thing.  Is it better to make whatever the team makes now with their payroll shrinking or risk that profit by spending a lot more?  If spending more won't lead to a significant rise in ratings due to winning then they might see it's financially better to lose 95-100 games with a small payroll rather than lose 80-85 games with a higher payroll.

Will the ratings only be as high as you need it to be with a legit contender?  If so then you have to adjust your expectations for a few years and keep a small payroll.

Because of national revenue even the worst teams will turn a profit if they keep their payroll small enough.  If you know it's going to be bad for awhile then it's probably better that way.  

When I go to games I still see enough people down there to make me think it's ok financially.  During the last rebuild the city itself was not a destination so that magnified the apathy.  If fans know the team's in a rebuild it's ok becuse they're still downtown, still outside, and it's still a party.  

 This is a really good post, and I think what it says to me is that if there's going to be a focus on luxury taxes and penalizing teams that spend too much, there should also be some kind of penalty assessed for teams that don't spend enough over a few years to remain competitive.  This could be flexible but still keep things balanced towards competitiveness.

The whole idea of the luxury tax as I understood it was to increase competitiveness. If the spread of national revenues making it possible for teams to tank while also making a profit year over year, then teams should be penalized for tanking, as it also reduces competitiveness.

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21 minutes ago, sabretooth said:

 This is a really good post, and I think what it says to me is that if there's going to be a focus on luxury taxes and penalizing teams that spend too much, there should also be some kind of penalty assessed for teams that don't spend enough over a few years to remain competitive.  This could be flexible but still keep things balanced towards competitiveness.

The whole idea of the luxury tax as I understood it was to increase competitiveness. If the spread of national revenues making it possible for teams to tank while also making a profit year over year, then teams should be penalized for tanking, as it also reduces competitiveness.

That's a good point too.  Of course it takes the owners to want that to happen (and I don't think they will) so this would have to be negotiated and pushed for by the players to force the "tankers" to still spend money.  There should be a salary floor and penalties for not reaching that.

 

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I really don't think tanking is that big of problem, sure there may be alot of teams that aren't competitive but I don't think they are building their teams with the intentions of bottoming out like they do in other sports.  It's just that nowadays teams are smart enough to know that there is no point in overpaying for free agents if they are only going to take you from say 70 wins to 75.  What's the incentive for the team?  It's not going to change attendance numbers at all.

That goes for paying your own players as well, if you're a 70ish win team and you have a high priced player, why pay him that high price if you're not going to be in a pennant race anyway?   Again teams are starting to realize this so they trade that player for cheaper and potentially better assets a couple years down the road.  

I will say though that I don't particularly care for teams that deliberately hold back minor leaguers that are ready and can help a team just because they don't want to start the clock.  But really I don't know how big of problem that is, take last year for example.  The White Sox could've easily left guys like Moncada and Giolito in the minors at the end of the year but they didn't, same with the Phillies and Crawford/Hoskins.  

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If you want to see the effect of league wide revenue sharing, look no further than the Lions under WCF. What the revenue supported was not to much tanking as acceptance of mediocrity. WCF's scheme was to keep a few high profile skill athletes on the team for replay and marketing value and then just basically coast along with no real effort to run a competent NFL organization. And the formula worked for him for over 40  yrs. Obviously the existence of the revenue stream doesn't create a bad,  unambitious owner like WCF, but it supported his incompetence and reduced a source of external pressure to run anything close to a 1st class football operation. Or another way to put it is that the Tigers are now facing the kind of pressure to get a 1st class operation in place that the Lions never did. 

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