After Al Avila’s foreboding end-of-the-year comments last November, it was presumed that the Tigers’ GM was facing an edict to cut payroll.

As it turns out, that wasn’t the case.

“Quite frankly, ownership has not told me to dump salary,” Avila told MLB Network’s Chris Russo on Tuesday. “Basically, they asked me, ‘If you can make a good baseball trade, that’s great.'”

Avila described a good baseball trade in the following terms:

“If you’re going to want one of our everyday players, whether it be our right fielder, our left fielder, one of our infielders or one of our pitchers, then we’re going to want in return a solid prospect combination that I can plug in to play in one of the positions at the Major League level or somebody that’s close enough that I can plug in in the near future.”

“If that’s not available,” Avila added, “then we’re not going to go out there and basically trade for A-ball, fringe type of guys because we’re not there yet. I can’t trade away two or three players without having the return to be able to plug in because then I’m going to cripple the organization.”

Avila said in November that the Tigers, whose $205 million payroll was the fourth highest in baseball last season, were on a mission to get younger, leaner and more cost-efficient as an organization.

“Changes are coming,” he declared.

That led to an offseason of speculation and uncertainty, with nearly every Tigers star wrapped up in trade rumors. But Avila said he was never particularly close to completing a deal.