While the Major League Baseball lockout ended earlier this month, fans of the Detroit Tigers certainly didn't hold team owner Mike Ilitch in the highest regard after reports surfaced that he was one of four MLB owners who opposed the MLB luxury tax increase to $220 million.
While taking questions Wednesday morning from media members in Lakeland, FL prior to his team's Spring League matchup, Ilitch told his side of the story regarding his alleged vote of the luxury tax.
“I'd like to take a moment and address that topic, and really set the record straight,” Ilitch said. “As we all know, all 30 major league owners voted 30-0 to approve the collective bargaining agreement, rather ratify that agreement. When we ratified that agreement, it became very evident that this is an agreement that has an increase in salary for pre-arbitration players, it has a bonus pool that was added for some of our brightest young players, and importantly, it has an increase in the collective bargaining tax threshold. The evidence is very clear as to how I voted and what I voted for. Anything else is basically, any other controversy around that subject, is really just noise that was created within a very competitive environment, a tough negotiation and teams creating noise for their own gain or their own advantage. The evidence is really clear as to what I voted for and how I voted. I'll leave it at that.
“I guess the only other thing I would say is, you look at what Al and his team and what our organization has done during this offseason, we've addressed a lot of needs,” he continued. “We have gone out and done exactly what we said we would do, which is fill in our needs with free agency. When you look at what we've added, I think our club added as much payroll as any club in baseball over the course of this offseason. You add it all up, it's pretty clear where I stand on this issue, and my record is very clear in terms of how I voted and what I voted for. You guys have to sort through, in a competitive environment, what others put out there and why they put it out there to create noise and for their own competitive gain.”
The Tigers open the regular season on April 8 at Comerica Park against the division rival Chicago White Sox.
– – Quotes via The Detroit Free Press Link – –