DETROIT – Detroit Tigers owner Chris Ilitch has formally denied voting against an increase in the MLB luxury tax threshold during the league’s lockout negotiations with players.
On March 4, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich published a report that cited Ilitch as one of four MLB owners who opposed an offer to the players that included a modest increase to the luxury tax threshold.
On Wednesday (March 23), Cody Stavenhagen, also of The Athletic, said Ilitch has refuted Drellich’s report.
Tigers CEO Chris Ilitch today refuted the report he ever voted against raising the CBT.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 23, 2022
"Any other controversy around that subject is just noise that was created within a very competitive environment ... and teams creating noise for their own gain or their own advantage."
Ilitch was criticized following the release of that report in early March, with many in the industry seeing opposition as a sign that he didn’t want to further increase the team’s payroll.
Since then, the owners and players have agreed to a new CBA and spring training is well underway. The Tigers signed reliever Andrew Chafin and starting pitcher Michael Pineda to round out an ascending roster.
When asked about the controversy, Ilitch referenced the dollar amounts offered to new shortstop Javier Baez ($140 million over six years) and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez ($77 million over five years). The deals have the Tigers projected to begin 2022 with a payroll somewhere in the middle of the league.