How the NHL salary cap contributed to the Tigers success

I received my copy of the Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2008 yesterday. This is the first year I’ve purchased it and did so mainly to read the article by fellow blogger Bill Ferris on Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski. Needless to say it was the same great commentary that you’ve come to expect on the Detroit Tiger Weblog. In the process I learned a bit more about Dombrowski than I had previously known and I would recommend purchasing this book.

One statement made on the Detroit Tigers regarding salaries was that Dave Dombrowski was given more money to spend on players and player development as he earned owner Mike Ilitchs’ trust. While I believe that Dave almost certainly has earned more trust over time, I contend that other factors played a much larger role in where Ilitch decided to invest his money, such as the NHL salary cap.

Mike Ilitch is a business man and as most intelligent business owners do, he invests his money where he sees that he will get a return. In the early 2000-2002 this was with his successful Detroit Red Wings franchise. With the institution of the salary cap, he had expendable monies and was able to then invest into the Detroit Tiger organization. Below is a graph detailing his spending per team over time as well as the overall payroll information between the two teams.

Mike Ilitch Team Salary Information

For some time after he was forced to cut back on the overall payroll of the Red Wings, he slowly invested in the Detroit Tigers. Then simply continued to invest as he saw the returns on the investment. He’s continued to do exactly that and the projected salary information for the Tigers in 2008 could surge past $128M.

There is no doubt that Dave Dombrowski had a major impact on the spending here by choosing the correct players and building a winning team with the money he was given. Though he might not have had a chance to have some of that money if it were not for Ilitchs’ inability to spend on the Red Wings any longer.

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5 Responses to How the NHL salary cap contributed to the Tigers success

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  2. billfer says:

    Excellent observation and the salary cap most certainly played a factor. But part of Ilitch’s m.o. is that he sinks in lots of money when the team is close. I think if the club were still floundering he wouldn’t be ponying up quite like he is. I think it’s fortunate that the two things occured at the same time.

    Thanks for the plug as well!

  3. Pingback: The Detroit Tiger Weblog » Blog Archive » The Coda

  4. Eric Jackson says:

    I agree Billfer. Dombrowski certainly is the main cause here. He built this team on the lower payroll and just continued the momentum as Ilitch put money in it to win.

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