Kansas City, Mo. — Tigers general manager Al Avila, during a guest spot on MLB Network’s High Heat program Monday, said he expects to complete a deal or two within the next two weeks — though it’s highly unlikely to involve right-hander Michael Fulmer.
“Fulmer’s been a guy who has attracted a lot of attention,” Avila told host Christopher Russo. “It’s muddied the waters a little bit. Now there is speculation that we have him out there and we don’t. But you can’t stop a team from calling and inquiring.”
Avila, as he said he would, has listened to each and every offer.
“We’re not going to be so naïve to where we say we’re not even going to listen,” he said. “I’ve learned many, many years ago, if you can get two Michael Fulmers for one, it’s a pretty good trade.
“But the probability of that kind of trade happening is probably zero. It’s all speculation at this point. Obviously, you can never say never, but at the same time, it’s not probable at this point.”
Manager Brad Ausmus isn’t a fan of this part of the business, mostly because he sees the impact it has on the players and families whose names are bandied about in rumors.
“Now Michael Fulmer has to deal with this because others teams have leaked out that they have talked to the Tigers about him,” Ausmus said. “When really, there is no intent to trade him…We are dealing with human beings and they are the ones that have to deal with the emotions of it.”
Avila made it clear that serious trade talks were in the works and that no magical run by the ballclub was going to alter the course.
“We have had several conversations that — I wouldn’t say way in advance — but we have things going on right now where I think something could happen in a week or two, if not sooner,” he said. “It’s kind of a day-to-day thing right now.”
Although Avila didn’t say which teams were inquiring about which players, it’s obvious from various media reports that J.D. Martinez and Justin Wilson have garnered the most interest.
“We’ve been very busy already,” Avila said. “It’s a very difficult situation for me. I am very close and have a lot of good relationships with our players. But at the end of the day, we really have to take inventory and do what’s best for the organization.
“We have been receiving calls from clubs that are interested and I have made some calls also. Our players are aware of this. If the right deal is there, we will move forward and make a trade.”
Regarding Martinez, specifically, Avila said it was hard on him because he’s known Martinez since he was a young boy.
“He’s like my son, and it’s very difficult for me to talk about,” he said. “He’s a highly coveted guy. He’s had a great week and he’s having a great season. He’s probably one of the premier power hitters in the American League, if not in all of baseball.
“We’ve had inquiries and we will see where they take us.”
He added, though, that he was under no pressure to dump salary. His orders are to make solid baseball moves for the organization — which is what he’s said all along.
“We are in a situation where we really don’t have to make moves based on finances or salaries or anything like that,” he said. “If we can make a good deal, we probably will — if there is one to be made. If not, we will move forward with our players.
“That’s where we are at right now.”
This, obviously, was not news to Ausmus. Avila said back on June 23 that he was listening to trade offers.
“Al’s got a job to do,” Ausmus said. “He’s got to do what’s best for the organization moving forward. My job is to try to win today. Things don’t always jibe, but we work well together.”
Ausmus is in the final year of his contract with the Tigers and he understands there are no guarantees he will be around to see the future Avila is trying to build for. But, he said, that doesn’t weaken his commitment to winning games and trying to climb back into the race.
“I’m not under contract, but I still care,” Ausmus said. “You still have to do what’s right, whether I am here or not. There is a right way to do baseball business and a wrong way. Al and I get along great. I’d like for Al to do great.
“And this organization has been pretty good to me. I was here for three years as a player and four as a manager. There is no reason for me to want anything but the best for this organization.”