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Tigers plan for leaner payroll, younger roster in 2017

Posted: 2:36 PM, Oct 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-19 14:09:44Z

The Tigers have a lot of money coming off the books in 2017.

"That's a good thing," Al Avila said.

In a meeting with reporters to wrap up the 2016 season, the Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager looked ahead to a leaner and younger future.

"We can't call it a rebuild, because we haven't broken anything down. I don't know if there's term for what I want to do here," he said.

"I wouldn't say the window is shut. I like to look at it as a big window of opportunity...as long as it takes us."

Team owner Mike Ilitch and Avila have not spoken about a specific payroll number, but Avila said the two met and the general manager recommended free agency will not be the best way to help team.

Payroll will not increase, so drawing the conclusion that it will go down is something Avila suggested Tigers fans should do.

When asked if fans had the question, 'Will this team make the playoffs in 2017?' Avila responded: "That's our hope."

The one area the Tigers GM was confident in repeating: there will be change, and it will likely come through trade. 

"Changes that we want to make are gonna be dictated by what's available on the trade market."

Avila said his goal is to have the Tigers compete "at least" at the level of 2016, but won't know until offseason shakes out.

Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez are possible candidates for trade. Both would likely get the Tigers a decent return. Avila said he's seeking young arms, like every GM in baseball.

Other notes:
-Victor Martinez does not have any surgeries planned at this point

-Avila: "We're gonna need a catcher. (Jarrod) Saltalamacchia is going to be a free agent." The Tigers could re-sign him. Alex Avila will be considered as a back-up to James McCann

-JaCoby Jones will be given a shot to earn a job, but Avila believes he needs more seasoning in Toledo

-The Tigers will make decisions on Cameron Maybin and Francisco Rodriguez in the coming weeks