LAKELAND, Fla. -- Putting a twist on the focus of Presidents Day, MLB.com is catching up with club presidents to discuss the start of Spring Training and the dawn of a new season. The Tigers don't have a team president, but Al Avila fills a similar role in his position as executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager.
Avila talked recently as part of Grapefruit League Media Day at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Here are three main messages that came out of his remarks:
On the Tigers' offseason: "I'm actually very happy [with the offseason] since we have a good team on the field. We feel real good about it. I talk to our players, and they seem genuinely happy to be together again. They really feel they have a chance to win, which is really a great thing, because they believe in themselves. I think you're going to see some unity in the team that guys feel more comfortable, so I think you'll see guys playing for each other more per se."
On roster continuity: "There's something to be said about continuity. If you have good players that you feel are still productive and they're still together, that continuity can be a big plus for us, how guys know each other better. They're more like family, and that atmosphere in the clubhouse could be better, and it could be a positive for us moving forward. I know also that the more veteran guys that knew [former Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, who passed away on Feb. 10], I think there's a little extra motivation, too. I do believe that."
On his outlook for the 2017 season: "Right now between the baseball players, staff and front office, we feel really good about this team, and we're happy it turned out this way. Obviously there are some things that we were thinking we were going to be able to do [in the offseason] that quite frankly, the market wasn't there for, so instead of forcing the issue and doing something that would hurt the team not only now but in the future, we figured, 'Let's stay the course and let's play it out for a little bit longer.' And [manager] Brad [Ausmus] will tell you, we feel like we have a good team, good enough to have a chance to win."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.