Christopher Ilitch,Detroit Red Wings and Tigers set up for long-term success

Embed from Getty Images There is no question both the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers waited too long to start rebuilding. Winning pushing many things to the back burner. In a recent interview Wings and Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch spoke in-depth.

A big issue that Detroit Red Wings fans had with now former general manager Ken Holland was he simply waited too long to reconstruct his teams roster. “You could certainly make that argument” Ilitch said. “I would come back with why not try to keep the team competitive for as long as possible?”

With both team now in full-blown rebuilds, Ilitch said he understand the fans frustration, adding that he himself is “impatient.” “we all want to win now, it’s more fun to win than lose,” Ilitch continued.

He believes both of his teams are on the right track for winning foundations. “For me, while I would rather be in the playoffs and contending for championships, I get it. I understand the process. I’m very confident we are doing the right things. We are building both of our franchises the right way, for long-term sustainable success. And I am excited about it.”

Taking over both teams from his dearly loved father Mike Ilitch fans and media wondered is Christopher had the same drive and commitment to win. He answered that loud and clear when he moved quickly to bring Steve Yzerman back to the Red Wings. That single action should silence everyone who ever doubted Cristopher Ilitch’s drive to succeed.

Both the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers have very good minor league talent. Now the waiting has settled in. Waiting for players to develop. Ilitch is correct his franchises are both headed in the right direction and may even arrive in the playoffs around the same time.

This time the wining will last longer.

Christopher Ilitch mum of possible Detroit Red Wings reunion with Steve Yzerman

Embed from Getty Images In case you missed it. Before NHL training camps opened on the 2018-19 season Tampa Bay Lightning general manger Steve Yzerman announced he was stepping down. Not only did he announce it he said he was headed back to Detroit. Causing a frenzy in Motown.

Stating he was tired of trying to tend to his family and flying back and forth between Detroit and Tampa Florida. Detroit Red Wings legend and 20 year captain Steve Yzerman sent a shock wave through the league.

Yzerman who is widely thought of as one of if not the top general manager in hockey was making himself a free agent. One thing. It seems like the only place he is willing to go is the general managers chair in Detroit.

It is known that Yzerman was asked and said no to both the Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers general managers jobs when they opened a few months ago. Leaving the Flyers owner to say “I think it’s clear he wants to be in Detroit.”

When asked point blank if he has reached out to Yzerman, Detroit Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch said “No, we have not done that. He is under contract and we generally have a rule within our organization not talking about executives are others who are under contract with another organization.”

That seemed like it was disheartening news to hear. Until Ilitch offered something so small yet so powerfully telling, “There’s not a lot I can say about that other the I know his contract is expiring this summer, and leave it at that.”

So let us take a closer look at that. Ilitch said he has not contacted Yzerman. Fair enough. He really does not need to. It is clear the owner is keeping tabs on the Detroit legend. He acknowledged he knows his contract is expiring.

Throw in the fact Steve Yzerman has already turned down two job opportunities and is known to want to stay in Detroit. Ilitch does not need to approach him now. Simply wait until June 1 when Yzerman’s Lightning obligations are done.

Ken Holland will be in the final year of his two year contract with the Red Wings. He may not get the last year if Christopher Ilitch turns to Yzerman. Which seems likely to happen.

Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch “Discipline the key to rebuild”

Embed from Getty Images Christopher Ilitch has made many spring training visits to Lakeland Florida over the years. Some as the owners son and the last two over being the owner of the Detroit Tigers. Saturday morning he made his yearly visit.

Christopher Ilitch met the media shortly after arriving a Tiger Town and was upfront and blunt about the state of the team and the state of the Tigers rebuild.

Starting by saying he wants the Tigers to win again sooner that later. That was a good draw-in for all Detroit Tigers fans. After the draw-in, he tempered the talk by saying he and the front office is determined to see the rebuild to it’s fruition.

“I have the same sense of impatience our fans have.” Ilitch fired off. “I am a fan first and foremost. I want to see this team be a great team, a playoff team and ultimately a championship team.” Christopher and the Tigers are taking the right approach.

Ilitch then went and watch some Tigers top prospects in action. Matt Manning third baseman Isaac Paredes and outfielder Brock Deatherage did not disappoint their owner.

“We are executing our plan, I think we are starting to see really nice progress.” If this was just any owner it would be lip service. But coming from Ilitch and the fact the Detroit Tigers have a top 10 pipeline it rings true.

“When I look at our pool of prospects there are some who will actually make their way to Detroit this summer.” Again a true statement. The reason it is critical the Tigers see the rebuild all the way though is simple. It works.

Look at the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. Both teams went in the tank for 5-7 year and reemerged from rebuilding to win the World Series. The same thing is about to happen in Philadelphia. The Phillies have not been good for 7 years and are coming out of their rebuild with Bryce Harper in toat.

The million dollar question of when the Tigers will spend money on top free agents was answered as well. Once the Tigers have a solid young core (which should happen by the end of this season) and they have a chance to play in Detroit together (most likely next summer) then the wallet will be open.

Christopher Ilitch also noted that he does not know what the payroll will look like right now simply because “we are laser-focused on building our core.”

In short this years media meet and greet sounded vastly different. That is because the Tigers are getting closer to the end of their rebuild. Baseball is about to be fun again in the Motor City where the sport reigns supreme.

Detroit Tiger fans can circle 2020

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Tigers in the midst of a rebuild are getting closer to competitive baseball again. While the Detroit front office is and has remained tight lipped about a time table there are some clues that point to 2020.

 

While it has only been a year since the Detroit Tigers have embarked on a full-blown rebuild they have chips in their minor leagues. Solid drafts and wise trades have brought the Detroit Tigers closer to the end. It has the makings of being one of the fastest rebuilds in recent times.

 

After the 2020 MLB baseball season the Detroit Tigers will have around $50 plus million coming off the books. That will free up cash for free agents. It is a safe bet that owner Christopher Ilitch will give the green light to go after and sign top tier free agents.

 

Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann $50 million is off the books. The $20 million the Tigers owe the Huston Astros as part of the Justin Verlander trade is gone as in the $20 million owed the Texas Rangers for taking Prince Fielder. That is a nice chunk of change.

 

That will leave the Tigers Miguel Cabrera as the only big contract left. The Tigers boast 5 starting pitching prospects ranked in the top 100. They also have two outfielder in Christian Stewart and Parker Meadows who will be full-time Tigers very soon.

 

Kody Clemens and Issac Paredes will sure the Detroit infield up the middle at second base and short stop. It is safe to say that after next season Christopher Ilitch and Tigers general manager Al Avila will sit down and take and in depth look at the rebuild.

 

Should the Detroit Tigers be where they are projected by many, Ilitch will open the wallet and Comerica Park summer nights will be fun again. The Tigers currently hold the #6 pick in the first round of this June’s MLB draft. Where they will be able to add another impact player.

 

The Tigers will have holes to fill in the outfield, first base Miguel Cabrera should be a full time designated hitter and utility player off the bench. They could and most likely will address those needs in free agency.  Unlike 2006 when the Tigers came out of a dark decade of bad baseball this return will be both swifter and last longer as the team has pledged to keep and not trade their young talent.