The Tigers aren’t saying they’re rebuilding. But they’re basically rebuilding.

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For the past several years the Tigers have spent big and gone for it. They’ve handed out large, multi-year contracts to superstars and have made blockbuster trades, all of which screamed “win now, the cost be damned.” As of yesterday, that era appears to be over.

General Manager Al Avila spoke to the press yesterday. He said a lot of things, but all of them pointed to one fairly clear course of action: the Tigers are getting out of the free agent business and may very well be selling off some high priced talent:

“We certainly want to stay competitive. We certainly want to be able to try to get back in the playoffs, But at the same time, this organization has been working way above its means as far as payroll for many, many years, and it [has] put us in a situation where quite frankly, it’s difficult to maneuver.

Avila talked about getting “leaner” and more “efficient.” He made references to youth and defense, but it’s clear he meant financially as well. The money spigot owner Mike Ilitch has allowed to stay open for years is going to be turned tightly to the right as the Tigers reposition.

What that means for any given player is unclear — they’re not likely to shop Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander, for example — but Jason Beck of sketches out what the near future may look like over at his blog. The upshot: the Tigers won’t be big players on the free agent market, they’re going to be “open minded,” to use Avila’s words, when other clubs ask about, basically, any player, and they’re going to put more money and effort into their farm system and analytics operation.

The Tigers have been the biggest financial dog in the AL Central for many years now, but it hasn’t translated to the playoffs for two straight years now and hasn’t translated to a pennant for four years. The core isn’t getting younger and the dollars aren’t getting smaller on that path. So a new path would appear to be the order of the day in Detroit.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.