The Detroit Tigers have just one game remaining in their 2018 season and then it is time to start looking towards the offseason. It is an offseason that could be extremely interesting when considering Nicholas Castellanos and James McCann, two of the Tigers most popular players.
On Saturday, general manager Al Avila spoke about the offseason and about some of the important (and potentially unpopular) decisions that would have to be made.
From The Detroit News:
“We kind of have to look at every option that we have at this point, because as we move forward, we’re looking toward the future more so than 2019,” Avila said before the start of the Tigers-Brewers game. “In saying that, just like last winter, we want to make sure that we were well-represented on the field and possibly have more trade chips if it’s possible.
“These are tough decisions. These are players that are popular, who people like, but at the end of the day, we have to look at the big picture.”
One player who may not be back with the Tigers in 2019 is James McCann, who is batting just .220 this season in 117 games.
“McCann has struggled a little bit this year with the bat,” Avila said. “But he’s a veteran guy, he handles the pitching staff great and he’s been durable. Obviously, we wish that he could hit a little bit more.
“I think there’s still something in there. I think there’s more potential in there but he’s getting to that point now where he’s getting close to free agency and starting to make a little bit more money — so we have to make a tough decision.”
“But McCann is one guy that we have to look at and determine, do we bring him back or not,” Avila said
Though it is very possible that McCann is brought back for one more season to help bridge the gap until Jake Rogers is ready for the Big Leagues, McCann’s inability to hit makes it easy to move in a different direction.
Another player who the Tigers will have to make a decision on before long is Nicholas Castellanos, who will be a free agent in 2020 and will certainly demand a hefty contract to remain in the Motor City. Avila compared the Castellanos situation to that of J.D. Martinez.
“He’s going into the same situation J.D.(Martinez) was in not too long ago,” Avila said. “With the exception that after next year there’s the possibility of a qualifying offer (which would net the Tigers a draft pick as compensation for losing him in free agency). And in this case, we are not revenue sharing payers. We should be receivers at that point, and that’ll be a whole different situation.”
“The thing that we have to figure out is, will he be here when we’re ready to contend for the playoffs?” Avila said. “That’s the big question. If you could tell me in the next couple of years we’re going to be a team that’s going to the postseason, then it’d be easy to answer. We’d keep Nick around. He’s a great hitter.
“But right now, we’re trying to assess how that could fit, and if that could fit. It’s a work in progress right now. I can’t say that (long-term extension) will happen this winter, though we aren’t ruling it out 100 percent. We would still have next year to look at that. That’s a question right now that’s hard to answer.”
It is certainly shaping up to be an interesting offseason for the Detroit Tigers and general manager, Al Avila.