In the current economic slump, only the New York Yankees seem to be unfazed by it. A very cavalier off season for the Yankees saw them heap nine-figure contracts upon Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia. Throw in another 80+ million dollars for A.J. Burnett, plus the bloated contracts of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, and the Yankees, again, will wear the crown for largest payroll in Major League Baseball.
Time will soon show that not even the Yankees can keep up that pace of spending in this economy, and the Detroit Tigers most definitely cannot. I have a very strong feeling that this season will be the last chance the Tigers have at winning. Time is running out on this talented roster.
Plain and simple, owner Mike Illitch will not be able to keep funneling this much money into an operation that is now being failed by general manager David Dombrowski.
It absolutely astounds me how much money has been brazenly wasted over the past couple off seasons.
Review these decisions with me, if you will.
Nate Robertson: He is going to be paid more than $7 million this season to be a long relief pitcher, a mop up man. This comes after posting an awful 6.35 ERA last season and getting kicked around during spring training.
Dontrelle Willis: He was given a three year deal worth $29 million before ever throwing a pitch for the Tigers. After his CY Young candidacy in 2005, '06 and '07 saw his win total steadily diminish, while his ERA and walks consistently rose and his strikeouts went down. The 2008 season was a complete wash, and 2009 does not appear to be heading in a better direction.
Gary Sheffield: $14 million was wasted on releasing a first ballot hall of famer. He is now free to sign with anyone for the major league minimum salary, or sit at home and collect his paychecks.
Kyle Bloom: The front office spent $25,000 to see if he could make the roster as a left handed reliever. Somewhere along the way it was overlooked that we have Macay McBride, and that Clay Rapada is having a respectable spring training. Bloom was returned to Pittsburgh so that Robertson's money could be wasted in the bullpen.
The domino effect of the poor economy and poor personnel decisions and spending will soon become evident. Illitch will not be able to continue burning money much longer, and the outcome will be a roster overhaul.
As a result, this will be the last season in Detroit for Magglio Ordonez. His $15-$18 million option will not be picked up. He might be wearing a different uniform by the end of July.
Of course, there is something, you as fans, can do to decrease the likelihood of this happening: Buy more pizzas.