Embed from Getty Images Rebuilds are not fun, there is no two ways around it. Detroit Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch, on his yearly visit to spring training spoke about the current state of the Detroit Tigers, the process of rebuilding the team and the future plans he has envisioned for his franchise.
First in what promises to be another long season at Comerica Park, perhaps the final long season as top prospects are preparing to take their final steps to the major leagues…….. Yes, Christopher Ilitch will spend money on free agents when the time is right.
This was both a relaxing trip for Ilitch and a business trip rolled in one. The Detroit Tigers owner was there to check in on top prospects. Before the Tigers took on the Toronto Blue Jays, Christopher Ilitch asked Tigers general manager Al Avila if there was a chance he could see one of the teams top prospects, outfielder Riley Greene in the game. Lo and behold, Greene was added to the lineup.
Christopher Ilitch is a baseball fan at heart. He grew up attending Detroit Tigers games when his father (the late Mike Ilitch) owned the team. Last season when his franchise lost 114 games it did not exactly sit well with the owner.
“You know, I get it. I understand the frustration,” Ilitch said. “Tiger fans are the greatest. We’re exceptionally grateful for the loyalty and dedication of Tiger fans. Tiger fans want to see winning teams on the field and they deserve to see winning teams on the field. And I can tell you everybody here in the Tiger organization is working exceptionally hard to deliver winning teams on the field.”
“I believe in the process. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we … will … get there,” Ilitch continued. “We know how to win. We have rebuilt the Detroit Tigers successfully before and we’re going to do it again.”
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to do it again. Having lived through it before, having lived through it in a different sport, these things are on their own timetable sometimes. A lot of factors, as you know, go into it.”
Detroit Tigers fans have often wondered out loud if Christopher Ilitch would spend money saying they thought he was too frugal and would never spend money on top free agent players like his father did.
The Tigers owner gave an answer that should put those thoughts to rest, “When I feel the time is right, Al (Avila) is going to have the resources to go out and sign the free agents he needs to add around our home-grown base and core of talent.”
“At the end of the day, for us to be competitive on a longer term basis, we are building this team the right way,” Ilitch went on. “I have absolute confidence that we are building a Tigers team that Tiger fans will be proud of, a team that will live up to the tradition of our storied franchise.”
Until the team is ready to add players to the top prospects, enjoy baseball, the time will soon come the Tigers will roar again.