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