DETROIT — Chris Ilitch's name was all over the conversation surrounding the MLB lockout on Friday.
The Tigers owner was reportedly one of four owners who didn't want to offer an increased luxury tax to players on Tuesday.
The deal that was offered was later rejected. WXYZ received the following statement from the Tigers and Chris Ilitch on Friday night:
“Whether you're an owner, player or fan, we're all eager to get baseball back on the field. As we continue working towards that goal, it’s not helpful to the process for me to comment on internal MLB matters or speculation. We’re all ready to feel the excitement and energy of the season here in Detroit, and know our fans are looking forward to enjoying Tigers baseball as soon as possible.”
According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, four owners opposed offering the deal. Along with Ilitch, they were reportedly Bob Castellini of the Cincinnati Reds, Ken Kendrick of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels.
The Athletic reports that those four didn't want to raise the luxury tax to $220 million. The MLB eventually moved forward with that proposal anyway, despite the objections by the four owners.
According to The Athletic, some of the four owners reportedly took their stance "based on their personal feelings toward costs and baseball's economic systems."
Negotiations broke off Tuesday after the ninth straight day of meetings in Jupiter, Florida, and baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that opening day on March 31 and the first two series for each team this season had been canceled. He said there would be insufficient training time for the March 31 openers.
The Tigers' previous owner, the late Mike Ilitch, was a major spender in the league and the team went past the luxury tax in 2016 and in 2017. Mike Ilitch had even said he doesn't care about spending money, and had constantly added players at high costs.