Dave Dombrowski is something of a wizard. He helped build up the farm system that allowed for the Expos of the early '90s. He brought the first World Series championship to the Florida Marlins. And under Dombrowski, the Tigers went from 119 losses to the World Series in three years.
He builds through the farm like a good general manager should, but there's another quality of his that's often overlooked: When an owner says to him, "Say, I'd like to spend all sorts of crazy money on free agents," Dombrowski thinks that's a swell idea.
Well, a lot of general managers would. Most of them, even. All right, so this isn't really about Dombrowski. According to Jim Bowden, he didn't really have a choice:
In successive years leading up to that World Series appearance, the Tigers overpaid and signed Boras clients Ivan Rodriguez (2004) and Magglio Ordonez (2005). Both were integral to the Tigers’ successful run and in the process Illitch and Boras fortified a solid rapport. With Fielder, Boras simply recognized an opportunity and went straight to Illitch.
What was your reaction to the Victor Martinez injury? Probably some mix of shock and horror. Scott Boras didn't run around his room making locomotive sounds, arm aloft in triumph, with steam coming out of his ears. But only because that's not possible for humans to do. It's not possible for Boras to do either. But like the super-agent that he is, he recognized the opportunity and pounced.
It's not surprising that Boras went straight to Ilitch. That's how $200 million deals happen.