Avila expects Tigers to stand pat at Deadline

Rotation to be replenished with returns of Zimmermann, Norris; bats stepping up for J.D.

July 24th, 2016

CHICAGO -- Tigers general manager Al Avila made a major acquisition this weekend in the Windy City. He bought a new shirt, he joked, to talk with the media Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

He wore the shirt Saturday as he discussed the Tigers' situation heading into the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He reiterated what he said when the Tigers were here last month: He does not expect to make a big move, buying or selling. He expects the Tigers to stand pat.

"Right now, I would say it's the most realistic option sitting here today," Avila said, "which is probably what's best for the team this year and moving forward in the future. It might not be the sexiest thing, but it is what it is."

Their major additions for the stretch run, Avila said, will be from the 15-day disabled list. With starting pitchers and making Minor League rehab starts this weekend and potentially returning next week, Avila believes they have their rotation.

"Right now, what we're really focusing on is trying to get the guys who are injured back and playing," he said. "Those are going to be our major acquisitions. There's nobody out there better than Jordan Zimmermann if he comes back healthy."

Likewise, while Avila called right field a "huge concern" with out and back at Triple-A Toledo, Avila expects Martinez to return sometime around the beginning of August, providing another boost. He also believes their lineup has enough offense at other spots to continue to overcome Martinez's absence in the short term.

"We have a real good lineup," Avila said. "I know we haven't clicked on all gears throughout the whole season, I know [Justin] Upton is now having a pretty good July, and hopefully he keeps that going. Miguel [Cabrera] had a bad month, but he had a great day yesterday, hopefully he gets rolling.

"If our team gets rolling to their capabilities, it's one of the better lineups in baseball. Our pitching is the same thing. If you've seen our bullpen, when they're clicking, that's a pretty good bullpen. Our starting pitchers is the same thing. … This is a team that can get us into the playoffs, and we just have to get back to guys that are injured. We've got to stay healthy, and we just have to be more consistent, and I believe this team has the capabilities of doing that, and we have a great manager to lead the way."

The other factor Avila cited was the state of the market.

"I have actually been in contact with several GMs that are in sell mode about their pitching," Avila said, "and the asking price is to too high, even for a fifth starter. I looked at some teams where we could maybe upgrade, and in talking to our scouts and our staff, the quality of pitchers available doesn't really put us over the top, over the edge that much to say it warranted a big payback in a trade.

"I have been in contract with some GMs, as have my assistants in their respective fields. Nothing has come up where we feel good that we can get the guy and he'd be the difference."