Avila says Tigers will have ‘highly competitive’ payroll
DETROIT (AP) — Al Avila is eager to get started with his first offseason as Detroit’s general manager, and he says the Tigers will have plenty of money to spend.
"We’re going to have a very highly competitive payroll, that we’ve always had," Avila said.
Avila talked with reporters Thursday, wrapping up a disappointing season for a team that had won four consecutive AL Central titles. The Tigers traded David Price and Yoenis Cespedes at the July 31 deadline, but they still have plenty of money invested in Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez, Anibal Sanchez and Ian Kinsler.
Detroit went 74-87 this year, and GM Dave Dombrowski was replaced by Avila after the trade deadline. With so many big contracts still on the payroll, it will be interesting to see how much additional talent the Tigers can bring in. Avila said there hasn’t been much talk of rebuilding, though.
"We have players here that are veteran guys that are in the prime of their careers and are still playing at a high level, with some young guys that have shown us that with their improvement, that they’ll be a good complement," Avila said. "We felt that with a few added pieces, we will again be contending for a championship for the next several years."
Avila said he wants to acquire two new starting pitchers to bolster a staff that slipped dramatically in 2015. Verlander and Sanchez are expected back next year, and Daniel Norris — acquired in the deal for Price — is one of a handful of young candidates for the rotation.
The bullpen can also use an upgrade.
Avila said infielder Josh Wilson won’t be back, but aside from him, the GM did not rule out anybody’s return. Avila’s son, Alex, has been a catcher for the Tigers, but James McCann has taken over the starting job behind the plate, so Alex Avila’s future with the team is in doubt.
"He’ll probably get something out there that might be more beneficial to him," Al Avila said. "Most major league clubs that have a right-handed-hitting catcher, they’re all looking for a left-handed-hitting catcher."
Avila bats left-handed.
Slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez is eligible for arbitration after hitting 38 home runs this season. Avila said the team would be interested in signing Martinez to a multiyear contract, but he did not go into detail about whether there’s been any progress in talks.