By Jeff Moss
November 6, 2016
A couple of weeks ago when it became clear that current Detroit Tigers owner Chris Ilitch had ordered his General Manager Al Avila to slash payroll to further line the family’s coffers (approaching SIX BILLION), I mentioned that when that austerity program started I would strike back.
Well, earlier this week that teardown began with the asinine trade of Cameron Maybin to the Angels for reliever project Victor Alcantara so my retribution commences today.
And before I get to Chris and the rest of his dysfunctional family, let’s discuss the Tigers’ trade of their only viable centerfielder on the roster. And let’s stop this asinine narrative that the Tigers are looking to get “younger and leaner.” No, they are positioning themselves to be CHEAPER so they will have fewer salary commitments when Chris eventually puts the team on the market after his father dies.
Maybin was scheduled to make $9 million in 2017 and considering most sabermetricians will tell you that one Win Above Replacement is conservatively worth $7 million, Maybin definitely earned his keep this past season when he posted an fWAR of 2.0. Even with all of his injury issues.
It was a no-brainer baseball-wise to pick up Maybin’s option but because of Chris Ilitch’s insistence on slashing the payroll, we are now left with the internal options of JaCoby Jones, Tyler Collins and Anthony Gose in centerfield.
They are all bad choices based on various factors. One isn’t ready for MLB, another is not a centerfielder and he can’t hit for shit, and the last option is a team cancer who started the season in Detroit, ended ended it in DOUBLE A and was considered too toxic for a September call-up.
Nobody is going to confuse Maybin for Willie Mays but he had a very good season in 2016 and the Tigers were a MUCH better team with him in the lineup. For one year at $9 million, Maybin was a very good value.
In return for Maybin, the Tigers received a relief pitcher who lost three miles off his fastball in 2016 and who also has monumental control issues. The Tigers are trying to sell you that he is a quality prospect with a great arm, yet he ONLY struck out 6.41 per 9IP last year while WALKING 4.62 per 9.
This was a salary dump, pure and simple with the biggest bonus for the Tigers being that they didn’t have to spend $1 million to buy out Maybin so they traded him for a poor man’s Al Alburquerque instead.
Which leads me to this article where I promised to publish Ilitch family dirty laundry once this unnecessary purge began. There is absolutely no reason this should be occurring. The Tigers were a couple of tweaks away from contending in 2017 and now we are stuck waiting for the next shoe to drop.
If Chris Ilitch doesn’t want to own the Tigers just sell the GOD DAMN TEAM. Or take it on the chin until the old man passes and keep Mike’s salary structure in place.
From what I have been told by my Little Caesars/Olympia Entertainment/Foxtown spies, Mike Ilitch’s condition is extremely grave.
How bad is it?
Chris Ilitch already has a “team” at Fox HQ working on funeral arrangements. Chris has even gone as far to HIRE someone to write the eulogy HE is going to give for his father. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of penning his own father’s eulogy he has outsourced that to someone else.
WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT? I have been told by several Ilitch family subordinates that Chris Ilitch is a fucking robot, but I am sure even Delores Abernathy of “Westworld” could have written a fine tribute to her dad, Peter.
WHO HIRES SOMEONE TO WRITE THEIR DAD’S EULOGY?!???!?!??!??!?!
At this point you might be asking yourself how someone who took over his father’s empire be so pathetic that he needed assistance in writing a tribute to the man at his funeral. Well, what other family member was going to take over the Little Caesars empire?
Mike Ilitch, Jr? The moron who was once arrested for possession of crack cocaine and whose financial claim to fame was the film adaptation of the TV show “Lost in Space,” which was an absolute boondoggle?
Yep, Junior was a producer for that abomination on celluloid which was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for worst remake of 1998 — which came only a year after the drug arrest. Proving Whitney Houston’s old adage that crack is indeed whack.
Or how about Ronald Ilitch? Well, unfortunately, this Ilitch offspring also had a taste for Nino Brown’s product and he was arrested on cocaine charges in 2014. Ronnie boy had the added bonus of getting caught with a HOOKER.
Nor was this the first time Ron ran afoul of the law. In 2004 he was arraigned and charged with two counts of domestic violence.
I am sure there are a lot of qualities Mike, Sr. was looking for in an heir to his business empire. Cocaine use, hanging out with prostitutes and allegedly beating up an ex-girlfriend probably weren’t chief among them.
And then you had the daughter that Mike and Marian Ilitch banished from the Fox building when they played their own game of Sophie’s Choice and chose Chris over Denise Ilitch.
Of course, Denise had past experience with both the Wings and Tigers herself — if you want to count allegedly being present at the Detroit/Windsor border when former pugilist winger Bob Probert was arrested for cocaine possession. (See a recurring theme here?)
This is from the New York Times account back in 1989 when “Probie” got pinched:
The rumor is that the other man in the car was teammate Adam Oates and one of the women was Denise and that pair had some sort of relationship.
When the future Hall of Famer Oates was inexplicably dealt to St. Louis along with Paul MacLean for old farts Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney, the whispers persisted that this was not a hockey move but related to the owner’s daughter sleeping with the star center.
That trade was the worst in Detroit sports history but it wasn’t Denise’s only foray into her dad’s sports operations.
When she was still involved with the Tigers she and her lackey Jim Stapleton (who at the time was Senior Vice President of Business Affairs) would attempt to micromanage the media because they didn’t like the critical coverage of the team.
Keep in mind this was during the 2003 season when her family’s franchise lost 119 games and was one loss away from being the worst team in baseball history. Still, Denise didn’t like the coverage the team was getting at their flagship station (WXYT AM-1270) so she orchestrated the removal of then- program director Gregg Henson from the channel.
I am not sure how Denise thought 1270 was supposed to spin a .265 win percentage, but Henson ended up getting transferred to 97.1 due to Denise’s bitterness.
Her biggest transgression to the family though might have been declaring herself a Democrat when she ran for University of Michigan Regent back in 2008 which didn’t sit well with Mike and Marian. I have been told by my Olympia Entertainment moles that they are staunch Republicans.
And by the way, Denise is up for reelection on Tuesday so if you want to give a big fuck you to the Ilitch family go ahead and vote for someone else. In fact, the DSR is officially endorsing Laurence B. Deitch and Latham Redding. (You get to vote for two candidates.)
And then there is Denise’s youngest sister who might have committed the greatest sin of all in the eyes of Mike. She married a Jewish guy, which didn’t go over well with the patriarch of the family at all according to my sources.
The marriage of Carol Ilitch and David Trepeck ended in a he said/she said divorce firestorm that included accusations of anti-Semitism, domestic violence, overbearing Ilitch family influence and sour business deals.
The other two children (Atanas and Lisa) were never real threats to Chris’ power play inside the family structure so as Mike’s final days are counted down, we are left with Chris decimating the Detroit Tigers because, according to my sources, he can’t sell them while Mike is still alive.
And who is Chris Ilitch? Well, the picture I received from subordinates and former employees is of an insecure, thin-skinned man who can’t take a piss without conferring with his circle of “Yes Men,” who is despised by a majority of his siblings and who has very few friends.
Supposedly only two of the sisters even speak to Chris and that’s because of their role with the family business.
Not that the family hasn’t always been a mess. And maybe when Chris Ilitch oversees the trade of my favorite Tiger (J.D. Martinez) I will unload the dossier, which includes the multiple tips I have received over the years from folks at family weddings telling me about Mike, Sr. getting ossified drunk in front of strangers, and ugly arguments between him and Marian.
Or, if you have a tip about the Ilitch Family you’d like to share, let me buy you lunch. Email me at DetroitSportsRag@GMail.com.
Maybe we can discuss the Wayne State University “Mike Ilitch School of Business” debacle or how the family took over $250 million in public funds to build Little Caesars Arena with the caveat that over 50% of the workers had to live in Detroit and how they have failed to comply — resulting in a $500,000 fine.
Maybe we can even break bread at Denise’s Birmingham restaurant … 220 Merrill.
Meanwhile, I am going to stay on Chris Ilitch’s ass until he sells the Tigers because this is the message he is giving fans of the team, direct from his new centerfielder with a 2016 fWAR of .1 ….
Just sell the team, asshole.
And write your OWN father’s freaking eulogy, ya god damn robot.
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