Ilitch: We’re going to do whatever we’ve got to do

There has been quite a bit of speculation that the Tigers would have a fire sale this summer, including trading off Miguel Cabrera. But Mike Ilitch seemed to paint a different picture in a conversation with Drew Sharp:

“We’re going to do whatever we’ve got to do,” Ilitch said. “We’re three games in first. What are we going to do? There are a lot of things that we can do. We’re going to try to improve one way or the other.”

Doesn’t sound like a fire sale is imminent or that the Tigers are entirely locked into their current payroll or roster despite the economy and unproductive contracts.

Thrilled by Wings, Mike Ilitch hopes to help pennant push next | | Detroit Free Press


  1. Walt

    June 16, 2009 at 8:48 am

    It is good to hear Illitch saying this, but it will be better to see some changes made.

  2. Brenden

    June 16, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Agreed. I want action coinciding with the talk, and so far I am a little nervous that nothing is going to be done for another turn through the rotation, which means two more horrendous starts out of Galarraga and Willis.

  3. rings

    June 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I’m surprised this off day wasn’t spiced up with some roster moves regarding our rotation…

  4. Sam

    June 16, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Mr I is going to be 80 soon and he wants to win the World Series.

    Little Caesers is doing well with their $5 Hot & Ready marketing campaign.

    I think he will throw every resource he can at winning it in his lifetime.

  5. Calvinsgotajob

    June 16, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Possible targets to bring in? I wouldn’t mind a power hitter for a corner outfield spot. The Nat’s are gonna tear it down shortly to afford Straussberg… Adam Dunn K’s more than anyone and is HORRENDOUS in the field but he’d bring that pop to the lineup and probably protect Miggy in the lineup. Who else is everyone thinking? i’ve heard Corey Hart from Mil. ‘s name tossed around… dont’ know a ton about him though

    • Chris Y.

      June 16, 2009 at 11:15 am

      Hart would be OK. Think Craig Monroe with much better defense and quite a bit more speed. Ks quite a bot, though.

  6. scotsw

    June 16, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Possible scenarios:

    1) With Willis obviously unable to contribute, Gallaraga struggling (but fixable IMHO) and Porcello limited, starting pitching is a definite concern. Two possible routes here: 1A) Miner to rotation, and French, Ni or Dolsi to the ‘pen. 1B) Signing a vet like Glavine, Pedro Martinez or, yes, Kenny Rogers on a short contract to help.

    2) Ryan Raburn traded to a N.L. team for a corner outfielder with more power. Detroit probably eats some contract $$ in this deal, as well. We all know Raburn’s a prototypical N.L. player.

    3) I still think that, unless there’s some major concern with Dusty Ryan, you have to see what the 25-year-old can offer at the major-league level. Sardinha’s great behind the plate, but sporting a .100 average with no power, you lose SO MUCH playing him over Ryan. Ryan could spell Laird 1 day in 3. I don’t get why this hasn’t happened. No, backup catchers don’t make or break you, but I think it would have been worth a couple runs over the past two weeks.

    4) Luke Scott? If for no other reason than so we don’t have to face him again, LOL.

    5) And obviously, Cabrera, Magglio, Guillen, Polanco and Granderson have to contribute more. This is getting silly. We don’t get anywhere unless three/four of these guys come around.

    • Dave T.

      June 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      I don’t think the Tigers, even with their current run production, want to substitute offense for defense. Defense has them in first place, and even though Dusty may hit better than the big Pineapple, they like Sardinha’s ability to throw out runners.
      Remember lasts years awful defense and the toll it took on the pitchers?

      • Brenden

        June 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm

        Again, though, Sardinha throw out numbers are not even that impressive. He has gotten a couple important runners out, but he is below average otherwise. It’s obvious that Laird is getting worked too much and that Leyland really spots his time with Sardinha rarely because of his lack of production. I’m not trying to black sheep Sardinha, I just think that his lack of production is hurting Laird more than anyone.

        Throw out percentages for this year:

        Dardinha – .167
        Laird – .363

        Dusty Ryan (2008) – .461

      • Walt

        June 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

        Dusty is above average defensively according to the resident experts at MTS. I don’t know that I would call the pineapple significantly better defensively.

        • Dave T.

          June 16, 2009 at 12:17 pm

          I remember a ton of WP/BP when Ryan was playing last year. I don’t know how many were his fault and how many were the pitchers fault but he seemed like he was always running backwards.

          • Brenden

            June 16, 2009 at 12:20 pm

            Only one official PB last year.

          • Dave T.

            June 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm

            14 Wild Pitches in 15 games

          • Brenden

            June 16, 2009 at 12:24 pm

            There was a pile of wild pitches from all the starters last year. Didn’t Verlander set a career high last year? So, who is to blame in that situation? The pitcher or the catcher?

            Disregard, that was 2007, Verland had 6 last year, which seems low to me…

      • JB61973

        June 16, 2009 at 12:11 pm

        I’m pretty sure that while he was up here last year, Ryan threw out a higher percentage of runners trying to steal than did Sardinha. I don’t think you would be giving up much defensively and you would be adding a lot more offensively (potentially) to bring up Ryan and demote Sardinha.

        As for Adam Dunn, I say yes all day every day. While he does k a lot he also gets on base a ton, has tremendous power and even on a bad day sees a ton of pitches. He would be great for this team, imo.

        • Brenden

          June 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

          I’ve posted the stats above, and they are telling. Dusty’s biggest problem was calling games last year. Sardinha has him beat there. But I do wonder if he has improved on that this year in Toledo.

        • scotsw

          June 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm

          The long and short of it is, Dane Sardinha is a major-league catcher but is incapable of even performing brief impersonations of a major-league hitter. He can’t hit for power, average, or beans. And he knows this. Every day he wakes up as a member of the Big Club, he must say some prayers of thanks. It’s great that he can catch. But he’s WAAAAY below the Mendoza line. To get a reasonable sample size, the difference between Dusty and Dane’s AAA OPS is 250 points (.600 vs. .850).

  7. Brenden

    June 16, 2009 at 11:01 am

    All I have to say is that I am going to scream if I have to listen to Galarraga and Willis lose the first two games of the Milwaukee series. I’d rather have Miner in the rotation at this point than either of those two jug heads.

  8. scotsw

    June 16, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Courtesy of Yahoo sports, a list of free-agent veteran pitchers…;type=lgns

    Here are some intriguing unsigned names in the Top 100 (there are others, but let’s leave Livan Hernandez out of the mix) … Note Kenny Rogers listed as “Decent option if he does decide to play.” I’m not recommending these guys (Except Sheets).

    #8 – Ben Sheets
    #47 – Paul Byrd
    #53 – Pedro Martinez
    #83 – Kenny Rogers
    #100 – Curt Schilling

    Also, in the relief pitchers section:
    Juan Cruz
    Joe Biemel
    Darren Oliver
    Will Ohman

    And recently released, after struggling: Jamie Walker

    • scotsw

      June 16, 2009 at 11:25 am

      Ah, didn’t mean to say Sheets, who needs surgery of course… Meant Byrd. I think we could get solid #5 starts out of him through the rest of 2009 for a good price.

      • Kathy

        June 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm

        Keep in mind, Byrd isn’t getting his happy juice prescription anymore from a dentist in the Bahamas who worked at a rejuvenation clinic.

  9. Brenden

    June 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

    According to Morosi, Guillen may not play for the entire season…

  10. Dave T.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I don’t think the problem is that the tigers have the wrong pieces, I just think the pieces they have right now are not playing as well as they could.
    Maggs, Grandy, Polanco… it doesn’t matter who the tigers get if these guys don’t start hitting. And Cabrera has not been right for a few weeks now.

    The detnews had an interesting article about the draft where Chadd said how some players are drafted to be traded…however, I don’t want the tigers to clean out the farm again just to get a rental player.

    This team is not 1 player away from the WS, but could gut out a division championship with the guys they have, and be just as solid next year if not improved.

    • JB61973

      June 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm

      I actually mostly agree with you here, although if they were able to gut out a division championship, I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t compete for the WS. Verlander, Jackson and Porcello have been great and if they win the division that means that there will not have been any drop off from those three. That type of shutdown pitching potential gives you a great chance to get it done in the playoffs.

      • Dave T.

        June 16, 2009 at 12:21 pm

        Anything can happen in a short series, but the tigers have not looked very impressive against the east. Red Sox, Yanks, Blue Jays

  11. J Ellet Lambie

    June 16, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I hope that this positive thinking and public committment to winning holds up, but I just don’t think the Tigers have the pieces to trade away to get what they need. My full thoughts on the subject are on my blog.


  12. Steve In D-Town

    June 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    The situation seems grim. If it is true that Illitch will “do whatever it takes” to stay in first, then there are three options which are key.

    1) First off, Willis will have to be released or sent to DL along with Galarraga. That will instantly promote Minor to #5 spot. Thus providing the next step in improving this team. And in Minor’s place we promote Casey Fien to the MLB.

    2) If Illitch will do anything to win, then we will have to open up the books for a Pedro, Byrd or Rodgers signing. 1.5 mil should be enough to lure one of those key pitchers to pitch in the #4 slot. Then we can get to the last key issue.

    3) We are going to have to give up one or two of our top prospects for a bat. If Guillen is gone, and the others ARE not contributing besides, Inge and Granderson, then a bat is gonna be needed through a trade. Scott, Huff, are some key players we could get from the broken winged Orioles. Could also try a trade from Marlins or Rockies as well for a bat. Those two teams could only need sub par prospects and one of our top prospect for a nice deal.

  13. VegasTigers

    June 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Didn’t they fire Matt Millan a few years back? Maybe Mr. I should look into replacing Mr. D. or even consider firing Leyland!

    • Ryan P.

      June 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      Yes. Clearly we should be comparing the Tigers and Lions. They have nothing in common except that they play right next door to each other and their mascots are both felines.

  14. Keith (Mr. X)

    June 16, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Dropping Galarraga is plainly out of the question. Really. He’s butchered just 2 starts. If he’s giving us 5+ innings, then he’s at least eating some innings for us. If he was getting some run support he’d have many more wins.

  15. Mason

    June 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve seen a bunch of people calling for Casey Fien to come up to the big club. But has anyone actually checked out his numbers so far this season?

    2-1, 5.28 ERA, 38 hits in 29 innings to go with 17 earned runs.

    And over his last ten games…

    1-1, 6.75, 21 hits and 10 (!) earned runs in 13.1 innings of work. Meh.

    DISCLAIMER: haven’t seen him pitch at all this year, so maybe he’s had real good stuff and has run into bad luck. But the numbers are not good at all.

    The problem is, with the exception of Ni and Rapada (both lefties) nobody in Toledo has pitched well out of the pen. Even Dolsi’s been not so good. So i dunno what we do about that.

  16. Jerry the Tiger Fan

    June 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    If Mr. I is serious he needs to tell DD to shelve Willis for as long as it takes (probably forever). Putting Miner in his spot instantly upgrades the rotation without giving up a single prospect or adding one more dollar to the payroll. After that, he needs to tell DD to do whatever it takes to get one proven major league hitter (Holliday). If those two things get done (and the first one is as easy as breathing), the Tigers will win the AL Central. After that, anything can happen in the playoffs (remember the 86-win Cards winning it all in 2006).

    • Matt

      June 16, 2009 at 5:59 pm

      Or…. instead of getting Left-Fielder Matt Holliday at $13 million a year, we could just play Left-Fielder Marcus Thames who makes under $3 million.

      Thames career stat line: .241/.302/.498

      Holliday current stat line .274/.372/.438

      (Not gonna use career numbers for Holliday because he was expected to drop off after moving to a different ball park and that’s exactly what has happened.)

      So yes, Holliday is probably an upgrade but I don’t know that he’s worth an extra $10 mill.

  17. Brian P

    June 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Woo-hoo. Willis is not making his next start.

  18. walt

    June 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    It is great that Mr I is willing to loosen the purse strings further, but the more I look around the mlb, the more I realize that there is little to get.

    • jud

      June 17, 2009 at 2:04 pm

      Walt has a good point. It isn’t so much that the Tigers need this or that. It is more the point that the players they have aren’t playing up to par, with only a few exceptions. Anyone they bring in isn’t that much of an upgrade over what hey have, or the payers they need to bring in aren’t available, or you have to give up too much to get them.

  19. ian

    June 16, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    brenden, 6 wild pitches for JV last year sounds low…but remember a lot of them end up hitting batters. something he excels at.

  20. Steve In D-Town

    June 17, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Ok, Ive been listening to 97.1 lately and after tonite’s game callers all want more pitching. I mean if we are to give up Procello straight up for Holladay i think it would be good. But no more then that. Next, why pitching? JV, Jackson, and Porcello are a great combo. Get a FA pitcher and Minor for 5th man duties and there you go better then Willis or Galarraga (the way that hes pitching). We need a bat. You can have awesome pitchers but without some sort of offense knocking in runs, you CANNOT win ballgames like that. WE need a bat (contact or power either or) to contend. If we dont, Minnesota will win this division.

  21. jud

    June 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Speaking of Minnesota once they pass the Tigers in the standings the Tigs will be looking up at them for the rest of the season…something has to happen this week

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      June 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm

      It seems everyone is worried sick about the Tigers. As little confidence I have in Detroit, I have less confidence in the other teams in this division.

      The Twins are about as bad as us, probably worse. They don’t have Johan Santana anymore, so they’re not walking away with anything. They are just a .500 ball club right now and haven’t been above .500 all season.

      They only have 2 starting pitchers with winning records and decent ERA’s. Here’s their rotation
      Blackburn 5-2 3.31
      Slowey 9-2 4.23
      Perkins 2-3 5.09 ERA
      Baker 4-6 5.30 ERA
      Liriano 2-7 5.99

      Meanwhile the Tigers have played only 28 home games vs 36 road games so far this season. We’ve been playing better than .500 ball all season. I like our chances, better than Minnesota’s. Once Joe Mauer cools off, Minnesota just might sink into the abyss.

  22. RJ

    June 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Looking at the schedule this is the toughest month for Detroit. They just need to get out of June in first place. That said, I realize the AG and Willis have been terrible lately, but the Tigers simply aren’t scoring runs. With Maggs, Grandy and Polanco all hitting 30-40 points below their career batting average, we’re simply not going to score runs. Another point, shouldn’t Thames be playing everyday right now? He’s hitting .300+ since coming back and he has xtra base power, unlike Maggs. Scary thing is soon Maggs $18 mill 2010 contract will be triggered by his plate appearances and we’ll have a .300 singles hitter with ZERO range in RF (Clete catches that blooper down the RF line in the 1st inning last night and Verlander gets out of that jam unscathed).

  23. Keith (Mr. X)

    June 17, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    So Magglio is everyone’s whipping boy now? I don’t think I can stomach that. He’s been one of my favorite MLB players for the past 12 years. I also have some fan loyalty to the Tiger players. IMO, You won’t find a finer player than Ordonez. This power slump he’s in won’t last all season either. He’ll probably turn it around after the All-Star break and make everyone forget about it.

  24. RJ

    June 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I hope you are right and Maggs turns it around. Maggs’ contract isn’t terrible on its own, but when you pile on Guillen who is signed through 2011 at about $12 mill per season, Willis thru 2010 at $10 mill per season, Robertson signed through 2010 (I think) at about $6 million per season, man Tigers just have a lot of under/non-performing players with really bad contracts, thankfully the young kids have done well.

  25. RJ

    June 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Just add up Guillen, Robertson, Willis, Sheff and Bondo. You have about $50 million tied up those 5 players alone just this season, TOTAL production 2 wins, 5 losses and a 8.06 ERA. Guillen and Sheff combined production for Detroit in 2009 (all Guillen), .200 batting average in 24 games, 6 RBI, zero xtra base hits.

  26. Keith (Mr. X)

    June 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    IMO, Guillen earned his contract. He gave us 3 quality seasons on the contract he signed in 2004 for 3 years / $14 million. He was grossly underpaid back then. His current contract is rewarding him for past performance. He’s probably not coming back this season. I just hope he gets healthy and earns the rest of his money for the next few years.

    Nate earned his contract too. From 2003 to 2008 he pitched about 1,000 innings for us while making only a total of $8.5 Million for those 6 seasons. IMO, he’s already earned the $17 Million owed to him for this year and next.

    Hard to find much good to say about Willis. He was probably was due to make more money when the Tigers got him. He owe him $22 for this year and next season. His 3 year/$29 million contract is not as bad when compared to Carlos Silva’s 4 year/48 million contract.

    Most teams have these bad looking contracts.
    Just look at the Cubs and Angels and try not to vomit.