The crowds have been smaller than usual during a miserable September for the Detroit Tigers, the first painful glimpse of the bad baseball still to come as the team embarks on a complete rebuilding.

Outgoing manager Brad Ausmus said he knows fans will be tested in 2018 after more than a decade of winning baseball.

"The times might get a little lean here for a few years, but the Tigers will be back and the fans will certainly be there to support them because they've always been there," he said.

How long will it take to get back?

Perhaps not as long as you think, especially if new controlling owner Christopher Ilitch is willing to open his pocketbook.

Money will fly off this books in the next two winters, leaving the Tigers with few payroll commitments in the years to come.

Entering the 2019 season, the Tigers will have just $55 million in fixed payroll expenses, plus $14 million in dead money for contracts of former players.