Seattle — The trade deadline looms in the minds of fans and media and general managers far more than it looms in the minds of players and managers.
“You guys are a lot more worried about the trade deadline than anyone in this clubhouse,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I’m not saying it doesn’t come up, but it’s not priority on their minds when they are in the middle of a game.
“And it’s definitely not on my mind.”
It might be more on the mind of a player like J.D. Martinez, though. A pending free agent, his name is normally among the first mentioned in league trade rumors. He was asked if he might take more personally the trade deadline chatter.
“I don’t know how to answer that,” he said. “I just, I like this team and I want to stay here. I would hate to feel like I had to start over again, at this point, with a new team. I like this team and I like this organization. I want to stay here.”
He also knows, the longer the team continues to slide, the farther they fall behind in the playoff race, the more numbered are his days as a Tiger.
“It’s one of those things,” he said. “I want to win. I want to start winning. I want to put Al (Avila, general manager) in a spot where he’s got to make a decision and I want to make it hard on him (to trade him away).”
Martinez wouldn’t go as far as to say the looming deadline was compressing the season or heightening the urgency to win. That urgency has been there from the start, he said.
“Yeah, I’ve been saying it since the beginning,” he said. “At least for me personally, the urgency has been since the season started because of the trade deadline and how everything is. You don’t want to start off slow because then it’s hard for the GM to say, ‘You know what, we’re going to start winning.’
“We have to put up the numbers and then Al can look at it on July 30 and see that we are right there in the race. That will make it a lot easier decision for him.”
Martinez, despite missing the first seven weeks with a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot, has done nothing to hurt his marketability. He’s hitting .307 with 12 home runs and 27 RBIs.
“We knew there was going to be talk and we knew it was going to get louder and louder as it goes on,” he said. “But if we could put ourselves in a better position, where we’re in contention, what are they going to say? What are they going to talk about?”
Around the horn
Designated hitter Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) was cleared to do some light cardio activity. He spent 10 minutes on the elliptical and took swings off a batting tee on Wednesday. Ausmus said he was expected to do the same thing Thursday. Ausmus believes Martinez is still wearing a heart monitor.
… There was historical precedent for what Justin Verlander experienced Wednesday — taking a perfect game through five innings and then losing. In Tigers history, it last happened on May 12, 1988, when Justin Thompson got 18 straight outs at Tiger Stadium in a game the Tigers lost in the ninth — again to the Mariners. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner also got 16 straight outs and wound up losing the game on opening day this year.
... Reliever Shane Greene, tagged for four runs and the loss Wednesday, showed up to the park Thursday without his hair. “I got into a fight with a razor,” he said. The razor won. Greene’s Fauxhawk mane was gone. His head was shaved clean.