Congratulations on your new job, Mr Avila. You seem like a natural fit for the position of Tigers' general manager. But enough of that, we've put together a brief list of things for you to do, if you don't mind. Now, let's get started.
We're sure that you are aware that the Tigers are just three games out of a playoff spot, and that they've traded away their ace pitcher, their closer, and one of their best hitters. The team is about to lose another outfielder, another starting pitcher, and a poor hitting catcher- no offense- to free agency after this season. So, we've got some holes to fill, and if we can get players who can help us to win this season as well as next year, that would be preferable.
Now, we understand that you can't just ring up another GM and make a trade. You have to watch the waiver wire for players who can be acquired. Fortunately, the Tigers have the fifth priority position in the American league, so you might be able to put in a successful claim or two.
Just one caveat: Mr Ilitch doesn't like to pay taxes, so you have to keep the payroll under the tax threshold. We've calculated that you have a few million to spend this year, and $ 46 million next year, to fill those vacancies on the roster.
So, here's the list:
1. Get some pitching.
Starting pitching and relief pitching are the biggest needs this team has. The San Diego Padres have James Shields, although he is a bit expensive. They've also got Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Joaquin Benoit, whom they figure to be willing to trade either now, if they can get them through waivers, or in the off season. Don't hold your breath for them to make it all the way through the national league, though.
You will notice that we've got a few new kids in the organization, but they're very young and while they figure to give us some depth that was sorely lacking this season, they can't be expected to carry the load by replacing David Price or Max Scherzer right off the bat.
We were happy to see you say that you want to win this season. So do we. So does our owner. We figure that even a couple of replacement level pitchers would be an upgrade over some of the guys that we've been running out there lately. If you come up short because of what's available, we'll forgive you. If you don't even try, we won't.
In the rotation, two of the new kids, Norris and Boyd, are getting a tryou, but if you can pick up oh, say a Sonny Gray or Yovani Gallardo, by all means, go for it. Don't worry about trading any of the prospects other than the new guys. I'm afraid they're just not that good.
In the bullpen, Alex Wilson has been doing a nice job for us, and is filling in as closer, but you'll probably need to find a new one over the winter. Just don't go spending $ 10 million a year on one of those. Let's get a few good men to spread around the bullpen. Might as well send Shane Greene and Ian Krol to the minors now, until they find some command. Our manager doesn't seem to know when or how to use them.
2. Find an outfielder
After trading Cespedes, we'll need a corner outfielder so that the manager doesn't keep running Rajai Davis out to left field. That problem will fix itself when Davis leaves, or sooner if you.... we'll come back to that. Suffice it to say that we're going to need a full time corner outfielder and a platoon partner for Anthony Gose in center field.
3. Deal with Brad Ausmus
Now, about that manager. This isn't working. You may as well wait until the end of the season, but please don't come back here next season with this guy as manager and expect to win a division. We know that he's not your fault, so let's not make him your fault by keeping him on.
Well, that's about it. Two starting pitchers, two outfielders, two relief pitchers, a platoon catcher, and a manager. For now, just enough to keep us in the race without blowing a hole in the roster for next year. Okay? Good luck, and congratulations again!