Detroit hoping to lure Tejada

The Tigers offer such an unpleasant environment that the team must throw above-market money at free agents.

Updated: December 4, 2003, 9:20 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
John Lowe discusses the reality of being the Detroit Tigers in today's Free Press: it is such an unpleasant working environment that the team is willing to throw above-market money at potential free agents to entice them to play there. When he asked team owner Mike Ilitch if he was willing to pay a premium to players to help them overcome their trepidation about playing for a losing team in a spacious ballpark, he answered, "Yes, I will. It's unfortunate, but that's what happens."

Is this wise?

Miguel Tejada
APThe Tigers will break the bank to land Miguel Tejada.
In the case of a blue chip free agent like Vladimir Guerrero, yes. If the only way to lure a sure thing like Vlad to town is to throw a little extra coin his way, then by all means, do it. However, in the case of a player who can be replaced off the waiver wire for something close to the major league minimum -- then it's a very bad idea indeed. For instance, there was a report in yesterday's Detroit News that the Tigers were interested in Fernando Vina. This is a perfect example of the kind of player they shouldn't be overpaying for. In fact, this is the perfect example of the kind of player they should be avoiding altogether. At this stage of his career, Vina would probably be a good fit as a backup on a good team, but he's not going to help the Tigers begin their long, slow climb out of oblivion -- especially if he's eating up a few million dollars.

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Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at bottlebat@gmail.com.

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