DETROIT -- The Tigers have done a fairly good job tuning out trade talk as the anticipation of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. With that Deadline now three days away, however, the anticipation is becoming tougher for them to ignore.The lineup card posted in the Tigers' clubhouse Friday did not
DETROIT -- The Tigers have done a fairly good job tuning out trade talk as the anticipation of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. With that Deadline now three days away, however, the anticipation is becoming tougher for them to ignore.
The lineup card posted in the Tigers' clubhouse Friday did not have Jose Iglesias at his usual spot at shortstop. He was listed on the bench. Given recent trade rumors, including Thursday's tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney that "there is some sentiment in the market" that Iglesias will be moved, the speculation raced.
Once the clubhouse opened, Iglesias was surprised to find a crowd around his locker. He said he was simply getting a day off and hadn't heard from manager Brad Ausmus or general manager Al Avila about any trade possibilities. Minutes later, Ausmus said he was getting Dixon Machado a game at shortstop, and picked Friday because Iglesias is 1-for-7 for his career against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel.
"There's no situation," Ausmus said.
Once the Tigers took the field for batting practice, the sight of Avila and many of his top assistants in the dugout put many on watch for any player getting pulled aside. Though Avila spent all of batting practice in the dugout, no player received a signal; Tigers officials said they were simply taking a break from the conference room they've made into their headquarters for trade discussions.
Expect more of this the next few days, culminating in what could be an eventful Monday afternoon at Yankee Stadium around the 4 p.m. ET Deadline.
"Some guys are [more] adept at blocking it out than others, but I think there is an effect in the sense that maybe some guys feel like they're floating around a little bit," Ausmus said. "So hopefully three days from now we won't have to talk about it anymore."
On Friday, at least, nothing appeared to be imminent. Though the Tigers still have several teams interested in closer Justin Wilson, the expectation all along has been that Detroit will wait until the final days to let the bidding build. Moreover, comparable lefties on the market, notably Baltimore's Zach Britton and San Diego's Brad Hand, have yet to be dealt, leaving no standard set on what to expect in a return package.
Catcher Alex Avila is regarded as the next likely Tiger to go behind Wilson, but various reports suggest the Cubs -- the most likely match -- have turned their focus to other veteran backup candidates.
The Iglesias market, meanwhile, has been quiet, making an offseason deal more likely.
Justin Verlander is currently scheduled to take the mound Sunday and face the Astros. If he goes through with that start as scheduled, it will most likely not be his last start as a Tiger.
The complications of a Verlander trade would almost demand that a framework for a deal be in place by first pitch Sunday. First is the approval of Verlander, who can veto any deal to any club as a 10-and-5 player -- 10 years in the Majors, the last five with his current club. Those rights give him leverage not only over where he goes, but also his $22 million contract option for 2020.
That leads into the other issue that takes time: Money. Any trade that involves the transfer of more than $1 million in cash from one team to another requires the approval of the Commissioner's office. So if the Tigers agree to cover any sizable amount of Verlander's contract, that would require approval.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.