So says Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg, who reminds us that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch is an emotional guy:
Ilitch surely is furious now, and for good reason. He gave Dombrowski one of the biggest payroll advantages in baseball — the Tigers had the fifth-highest payroll in the league — and they could not even win a weak division.
Ilitch might stay mad and demand that Dombrowski cut payroll. But he also might calm down. And if it comes time to actually trade a prime player, especially a popular one, Ilitch’s emotions might swing in the other direction, and he might decide he can’t accept losing one of his stars.
I can’t help but think that all of these stories about the Tigers allegedly imminent fire sale are borne of one overheard temper tantrum by Ilitch. In light of the team’s ugly late season collapse, I’d have one too if I were him.
But like Rosenberg says, Ilitch is no idiot, and more to the point, he’s no cheapskate. He’s worth over a billion bucks. His wife Marian owns the closest thing to a license to print money for cryin’ out loud. They can cover the money guys like Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera are owed, and they have shown time and time again with the Red Wings and more recently the Tigers that they’re willing to spend money on their sports teams.
Upshot: I’d be shocked if Curtis Granderson is traded this offseason.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.