With free agency about to begin in Major League Baseball, the Tigers could be set up to be one of the teams to make the biggest splash.
The Tigers finished this past season at 81-81, their fourth straight season missing the playoffs since appearing in the 2006 World Series.
And with most of their key pieces set to return in 2011, the Tigers could be just one or two players away from becoming favourite to return to the Fall Classic in 2011.
The Tigers opening day payroll in 2010 was $123 million, one of only six teams with a payroll north of $110 million. But with the expiring contracts of Magglio Ordonez ($18.0M in 2010), Jeremy Bonderman ($12.5M), Johnny Damon ($8.0M), Gerald Laird ($4.0M), and Bobby Seay ($2.5M), the Tigers have about $45 million in salaries coming off the books this winter.
The Tigers figure to have two immediate needs: an outfielder to replace Damon and a starting pitcher to replace Bonderman.
While there are a few pitchers that could fit the Tigers needs (e.g. Kevin Millwood, Jon Garland), there is only one outfielder that compliments the Tigers and their stadium perfectly…Carl Crawford.
With Comerica Park’s spacious outfield, Crawford would thrive defensively. And offensively, he could challenge Curtis Granderson’s mark for the most triples in a season in the last 60 years (23).
We have already seen one report that Crawford may not want to play in New York or Boston. And his quiet personality could be more suited to Detroit over those potential landing spots. That would leave the Tigers and Angels as the front-runners for Crawford.
And unless the Tigers suddenly decide to give Cliff Lee a gazillion billion dollars, they will give Crawford whatever he wants. And seven years, $105 million ($15M per season) is well within the Tigers budget.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.