DETROIT — Tigers owner Chris Ilitch finally plans to add to the team's payroll, after the team cut it every year since 2015.
“Undoubtedly, that could happen this winter,” he said on Tuesday.
The Tigers again have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, ranking 23rd out of 30 teams in 2021. Ilitch said he likes Al Avila's vision, and said it aligns with his own vision for the team's rebuild.
"We’re seeing the long-term efforts that have been put forth by his team, and we see the emergence of the young core. I think he feels like we need to continue to improve our ballclub in a high-impact way, and I fully support that - and will support that," Ilitch said at the team's event, where renovations began at the historic Negro League ballpark in Hamtramck.
The Tigers watched Max Scherzer leave in free agency in 2015 before trading away Justin Verlander, JD Martinez, and Justin Upton in 2017. They dealt Nick Castellanos away in 2019.
"Our fans have been incredibly patient through this process," Ilitch acknowledged. He added their vision aligns with fans' vision. What is that?
"We want not only a highly competitive team, but we want to be a playoff contender," Ilitch explained.
He sees the progression of the young core as the reason to add in a big way, as early as this upcoming offseason.
“Al has been the architect of our vision. He and his staff have done all the hard work," Ilitch said. “I think the future of the Detroit Tigers is very bright with AJ Hinch leading. He has had a profound effect on our ballclub."