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Tigers GM Al Avila: ‘Ownership has not told me to dump salary’

As the winter months roll on by and spring training gradually draws near, it is looking more and more likely that the Detroit Tigers will field a near carbon-copy team in 2017 to the one that missed out on the playoffs on the final day of the 2016 season.

However, it did not appear early on in the off-season that would be the case. The team appeared to be open for business and ready for big change when the team traded away center fielder Cameron Maybin to the Angels just two days into the off-season following the conclusion of the 2016 World Series. But since then, it’s been nothing but an onslaught of rumors and speculation regarding a number of big names for Detroit, highlighted by a virtual no-show at the Winter Meetings.

But ask team general manager Al Avila and he says a rare absence from the Tigers in the rumor mill is without a valiant effort. Avila appeared on MLB Network’s High Heat with Christopher Russo, talking about what has happened with Detroit so far this off-season, and whether or not the team is still exploring a tear-down of sorts.

Avila basically says here that he and his brass felt very good and comfortable this off-season, particularly going into the Winter Meetings, about making some deals in order to be more financially responsible… that’s with permission from the ownership, of course.

See, any trades Detroit would have made this off-season, i.e. the Maybin deal, would primarily be an effort to shed salary and soften any blow from the luxury tax. The tricky caveat was also wanting to field a competitive enough team. But Avila also made note in the interview that he never quite got the permission to just flat out ‘dump salary.’

It’s been a mixed bag of emotions from Tigers fans over the last 2+ months. Fans differ on whether or not they should be trading off assets and starting a rebuild, or keeping the band together for another shot at the postseason. The Maybin trade in particular was one that prompted the ‘rebuilding’ argument. It even left one of our own here at DSN taking the route that the Tigers will regret trading away Maybin.

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