Tigers GM Al Avila addressed the press today, and Chris Iott of MLive.com has the story (or, if you prefer, the video). We already touched upon his comments regarding the possibility of a J.D. Martinez extension. He also noted the importance of bolstering the pitching staff, saying that the “hope is to find two starting pitchers” — one toward the top of the staff and another back-end arm. The club will also consider newly-acquired youngsters Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Michael Fulmer for starting jobs, along with the struggling Shane Greene — who could instead move to relief duty. Speaking of the pen, Avila noted that adding a lockdown closer would be “a tough task” given the paucity of 9th-inning arms on the market. He also noted that pitching was a greater priority than adding in the outfield, where the team feels good about youngster Tyler Collins. Though Avila didn’t reveal details, he said the cash would be there to make the additions that the team needs: “We’ll have a highly competitive payroll, as we have in the past.”
Here’s more from Detroit and the rest of the American League:
- Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon took the closer job briefly but was ultimately sent home early for an apparent lack of effort. Avila says that the fireballer will need to prove that he is committed and capable, with the GM saying he’s “keeping my fingers crossed that the lesson was learned and he comes back ready to go.” One player who won’t be coming back is veteran infielder Josh Wilson, who has been told he’ll not be re-signed. And Avila said that long-time backstop Alex Avila — who is, of course, his son — is also expected to end up with a new organization.
- Changes in the Mariners’ front office continued on Thursday, as Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reported that director of player development Chris Gwynn has stepped down from his post (Twitter link). The Mariners have since confirmed Gwynn’s resignation, and Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets that his expectation for the role to be filled by Angels assistant GM Scott Servais — a lieutenant of new Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto when the two worked together in Anaheim.
- Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy threw off a mound on Wednesday for the first time since shoulder troubles caused him to be shut down for the season in May, writes the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina. Bundy, formerly rated as the No. 2 overall prospect in the game by both Baseball America and MLB.com, threw 20 pitches in the side session. Director of player development Brian Graham said that Bundy has no physical issues and showed good velocity. The team will decide if he’s to throw in winter ball or possibly the Arizona Fall League, but as Encina notes, getting him some work will be important. Bundy is out of minor league options and will have to stick on the Opening Day roster to avoid waivers next season, so getting him back into game shape carries extra importance for Baltimore.
- The Yankees have quite a bit of work to do heading into the offseason, writes MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom. Unfortunately, the team doesn’t have much in the way of financial “wiggle room” to pursue the likes of David Price, Zack Greinke or Justin Upton, despite the fact that each player would fill a need for the club, Bloom opines. Perhaps chief among the Yankees’ needs will be to determine if age, injuries or simply general wear and tear contributed to the decline of Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, Chase Headley and Carlos Beltran down the stretch, he adds.