A strange way to rebuild

The way the Detroit Tigers are going about their rebuilding job is one of the strangest I can recall.

Now, I’ve watched many other major league teams go about the job of restoring their fortunes.

Some prefer the “tear it down” method, which means they unload just about all of their talent. Most truly struggling clubs prefer this.

Others prefer the “free agency” way. That’s simply to sign up every good player available.

But that also means that a club must have unlimited deep pockets to sign players — especially nowadays when a reserve catcher or utility infielder can demand at least a million bucks a season.

Late Tigers owner Mike Ilitch didn’t mind shelling out money to get quality talent for his team. He showed that in what turned out to be major contractual mistakes with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.

His family doesn’t have that philosophy.

So, what you have in Motown today is management that hopes to run into a superstar, more or less, by accident.

After practically getting nothing for such players as Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, Detroit’s top brass haven’t ventured off course.

General manager Al Avila traded top reliever Shane Greene go to Atlanta for minor league prospects. And he followed up by doing the same with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, who was shipped to the Chicago Cubs.

Avila goofed up by letting catcher James McCann and shortstop Jose Iglesias get away in the offseason.

McCann was named to the All-Star team and is still hitting over .285 for the White Sox. The slick-fielding Iglesias has been around the .300 mark all season for the Reds.

All Castellanos was doing was hitting .280 and leading the league in doubles. Greene had posted the top ERA among all relief pitchers.

If Avila had held on to those four players to go with promising newcomers JaCoby Jones and Jake Rogers, I would bet the team wouldn’t be headed for a 100-loss season.

Erstwhile superstar Cabrera hurts the team more with his iffy health and multi-million dollar contract. He’s just a shadow of his former (Hall of Fame-worthy) self.

And to think that Avila was rewarded with a four-year extension for his work ….


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