Tigers

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are built from a va­ri­ety of mod­els.

“Every year you can look at the teams that are in the World Se­ries and look at how their play­ers were ac­quired,” Avila said. “It’s a com­bi­na­tion of play­ers that were drafted and de­vel­oped, Latin Amer­i­can signees, and play­ers ac­quired through trades or free agency. You have to be in­volved in all of that to make it work.

“You can’t just say we are go­ing to lose and we’re go­ing to get the first pick in the draft for four years and that’s go­ing to do it. If that’s all you do, you aren’t go­ing to get there. You bet­ter sign play­ers out of Latin Amer­ica, you bet­ter make some good trades and you bet­ter sign some mi­nor­league guys that sur­prise you. That’s the game.”

Avila was asked how much lower the pay­roll needs to be be­fore the club could start even think­ing about spend­ing se­ri­ously on free agents. He said that vari­able is con­trolled by how quickly a solid foun­da­tion can be built.

The big checks will get cut when the team is on the brink of se­ri­ous con­tention.

“It’s not just about fo­cus­ing on pay­roll,” Avila said. “Our goal was to be un­der the lux­ury tax, just be­cause you don’t want to check that box a third time. No­body does. But it’s not about con­tin­u­ing to lower pay­roll. That’s not what we’re try­ing to do.

“We’re try­ing to get younger, leaner and then start re­build­ing with play­ers we can ac­quire in or­der to put a good team on the field. Then, at some point, you’re go­ing to have to go out and ac­quire a player or two to make it com­plete.” there no real foun­da­tion pieces on the big-league ros­ter head­ing into the 2018 sea­son.

Young, tal­ented play­ers like Nick Castel­lanos, James McCann and Michael Ful­mer could all end up be­ing traded be­fore the Tigers are com­pet­i­tive again in the Cen­tral Divi­sion.

“Some of the best peo­ple we have are in the mi­nor leagues, and their time of ar­rival could be two, three, four years from now and we’re ex­cited about that,” Avila said. “And that’s some­thing we’re be­ing very care­ful with.”

He’s talk­ing about pitch­ing prospects like Franklin Perez, Matt Man­ning, Alex Faedo, Beau Bur­rows, Kyle Funkhouser and Bryan Gar­cia — all of whom are prob­a­bly at least two and prob­a­bly three years away from crack­ing the big leagues, and the club has no plans to rush them.

He’s talk­ing about po­si­tion play­ers like Dawel Lugo, Daz Cameron, Jake Rogers, Isaac Pare­des, Jose Azo­car and Ser­gio Al­can­tara — also two to four years away.

As for the cur­rent big-league ros­ter?

“At the Ma­jor-League level we’ve got some play­ers who are young and at­trac­tive, but are they go­ing to be there three years from now? Pos­si­bly,” Avila said. “You look at Mikie Mah­took, we still have a lot of con­trol over him and it isn’t cost­ing us a whole lot.

“We have Castel­lanos this year and next year and we’ll see where that goes. JaCoby Jones is still de­vel­op­ing. Jeimer Can­de­lario is young and de­vel­op­ing. McCann is start­ing to make some money now, so we will see where that goes.”

If the Tigers are to avoid 95100 losses in 2018, it will be be­cause of the con­tin­ued growth of three young start­ing pitch­ers, Ful­mer, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Nor­ris. But, same qual­i­fier — if the Tigers aren’t ready to win in two years and those three can be flipped for top prospects, they won’t be on the next cham­pi­onship-con­tend­ing team in Detroit.

“Are they go­ing to be part of the process three years from now?” Avila said. “They quite pos­si­bly could. Or, they could be flipped. I can’t sit here to­day and tell you which way it’s go­ing to go.”

The worst thing that any gen­eral man­ager can do in a re­build­ing process is lose sight of the big pic­ture, to get ahead of him­self and think the team is ready to

Robin Buck­son/Detroit News

Tal­ented play­ers like 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Ful­mer could be traded be­fore the Tigers are com­pet­i­tive again in the Cen­tral Divi­sion.

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