The Detroit Tiger are a poorly run baseball organization. As a lifelong Tigers fan it pains me to say that, but facts are facts. I used to put the blame for the Tigers ineptitude at the feet of General Manager Dave Dombrowski; however it appears that Tigers owner Mike Illitch is the real problem here. He treats his baseball team like a poorly run Yahoo.com fantasy team, and continually passes the cost of acquiring high priced, broken down free agents to his fans.
There are so many bad contracts on the Tigers roster that it would be pointless to get into, but is important to not forget this team offered Juan Gonzales 140 million dollars, and thank god that broken down star said no. The latest questionable deal is a report from MLB.com that the Tigers have offered outfielder Johnny Damon a two year 14 million dollar deal.
This is a bad deal in a lot of ways, the most important being, the Tigers already have a few broken down outfielders ill equipped to play the spacious confines of their home Comerica Park. Furthermore this team just went through a cost cutting off season where 2009 Gold Glove Winning 2B Placido Polanco was not even offered a contract, nor offered arbitration. Offering him arbitration would have guaranteed the Tigers a draft pick had he signed with another team.
Now the Tigers are trying to sell us on the fact that they need a top of the order bat (which Polanco was, and just happened to be an excellent number 2 hitter) so they are going to break the bank for Damon. While he is a good lead off hitter, and a left handed bat that this lineup could use, he is also a 36 year old who cannot play the outfield anymore, and does not have the arm strength to adequately defend the large outfield in Comerica Park. At 14 million this move is a joke, at 5 or 6 for one year it is a lot easier to swallow.
In the end Polanco signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for around five million a year, and now the Tigers seem to think spending 7 million a year on Damon is a good idea. It seems two things are being made clear, 1) The Tigers are so concerned over the media calling what they did this off-season a fire sale they are willing to do anything to combat that perception, and 2) Tigers owner Illitch is only concerned with chasing has been stars.