By Will Burchfield
Contrary to a recent report, Al Avila and the Detroit Tigers have not established a deadline by which the team must be in contention to avoid a potentially major sell-off.
“No, there’s no date. It’d be really not the best decision to say, ‘Okay, on this date if we’re not here, this is what’s gonna happen.’ That’s really not the way that we’ve worked it,” Avila said on Friday. “I think it’s more of a day-to-day thing and obviously the closer you get to the deadline the better you wanna be playing. That’s really kind of the basics of how to come up with that final decision.”
MLB Network reported last week that if the Tigers are still under .500 at the end of June, they’ll make all veterans available on the trade market. The team is 25-28 entering playing on Friday night, 3.5 games out of first place in the A.L. Central.
“You really evaluate your team every single day. You’re watching the other teams, what they’re doing on a regular basis, and seeing what their needs are and who might be selling or buying,” said Avila. “Our scouts out there doing everything they can to monitor what the market’s going to be like a month or so down the road, but to say that there’s a certain timing, no.”
On top of that, Avila said there is not a specific deficit in the standings that would convince him to sell.
“I don’t really have a number in my mind, and if I did I don’t think it would behoove us to give it to you. But right now, the division is really wide open, no one’s really pulled away. We know how great Cleveland is, and, believe me, it’s in the back of our minds – at least my mind – if they’re going to be making a move. Chicago’s been playing tremendous baseball, Minnesota’s been in first place really for the most part, they’ve been playing tremendous baseball, so we have our challenges,” Avila said. “It’s a really good division and everyone’s playing well.”
If the Tigers do play themselves into contention ahead of the deadline, it’s unlikely that they’ll make any major additions. Avila considers the idea of taking on any more salary a “long-shot” and he feels confident in the roster as currently constructed.
“We are looking at the overall process as we move forward for our future, but right now, with what we’ve got, we feel we can win and we’re looking at that today. What I’m looking at today is this team. I’m not looking at what’s gonna happen next year or the following year, we gotta focus on today,” Avila said.
The Tigers GM feels that trade deadline talk gets “a little overhyped” at this point in the season.
“Right now, what we’re really focusing in on is winning a lot of games and obviously trying to fix those little areas that sometimes pop up, whether it be the bullpen, the starting pitching, or the hitting most importantly. We’re going to work on those things and really focus more on winning ball games than anything else. Obviously we’re not looking at are we gonna trade anybody at this point. I just wanna make sure that everyone’s focused on winning games,” he said.