The Detroit Red Wings introduced Derek Lalonde as the team’s new head coach at an 11 a.m. news conference at Little Caesars Arena. Cristopher Ilitch, the owner of the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, fielded questions at the event alongside Lalonde and general manager Steve Yzerman.
Ilitch mentioned the Tigers when asked about the rebuilding process for both his teams.
“I’m very pleased with the progress at the Detroit Tigers,” Ilitch said Friday. “Despite a very slow start this season with our team, there’s actually some good progress happening with some of the young guys that have come up and developed and so on and so forth.”
The Tigers (29-45) have the third-worst record in the American League, and they’re 11½ games out of first place in the AL Central and 10½ games back of an AL wild-card spot. The offense averages an MLB-worst 3.00 runs per game and is on pace to score fewer than 500 runs.
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Before the season, Ilitch said the Tigers’ rebuild was over.
He committed more than $230 million to free agents this past offseason, including $140 million over six years to shortstop Javier Báez and $77 million over five years to left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
The quick review from Ilitch about the 2022 Tigers was part of a lengthy response about maintaining patience throughout team rebuilds.
In response, Ilitch put his faith in the process.
For examples of trusting the process, Ilitch pointed to Yzerman’s success as the Tampa Bay Lightning general manager and Tigers general manager Al Avila’s success in helping the Florida Marlins secure the 1997 World Series as a member of the front office.
“There really are no shortcuts,” Ilitch said. “You need to obviously bring in the young talent. You develop your players into NHL players or Major League Baseball players, and then you need to assemble them all at the right time and fill in gaps with free agents and trades.
“And then you got to compete and get some breaks along the way for it all to work. There’s always temptation for shortcuts or to do something that would be rash, but that generally doesn’t work. It takes a lot of patience. It’s a process that takes time.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ Christopher Ilitch ‘pleased with the progress’