Tigers GM Al Avila said today that the club is willing to listen to offers on even its best-known veterans, as Evan Woodberry of MLive.com reports. Still, Detroit doesn’t necessarily intend to put specific players on the market.
While the Tigers aren’t planning a “full-blown selloff by any means,” said Avila, they feel the need to “be open-minded in listening to what clubs may be interested in from us and what we can do with it.” That includes a willingness to entertain offers, should they come in, for such franchise staples as Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera (both of whom enjoy no-trade protection) — though Avila said “it would be in [the Tigers’] best interest if we could keep them and do everything that we need to do.”
What the team hopes to do, he reiterated, is embark upon a quest for youth, athleticism, and cost efficiency in its major league roster. But while that will be the new operating philosophy, the Tigers seemingly hope to accomplish a smooth transition rather than a drastic rebuild.
“Quite frankly, like I told ownership, it may not get done this winter,” said Avila. “As a matter of fact, it probably won’t get done this winter.”
Beyond Verlander and Cabrera, the Tigers have significant obligations on the books to aging (but still-productive) veterans such as Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez. The team also owes large sums to younger players like Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton, both of whom are coming off of less-than-inspiring first seasons in Detroit.
Perhaps the club’s single most obvious trade piece, though, is right fielder J.D. Martinez, who is just 29 years of age and has been one of the game’s premier power hitters over the last three seasons. While Martinez could theoretically profile as an extension target, given his age and output, Avila made clear that the organization isn’t interested in pursuing new contracts with any players this winter, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets. With Martinez slated to reach the open market next winter, he could be a major chip for the Tigers in the coming months — or, perhaps, at the summer trade deadline.