Cleveland — Miguel Cabrera has sat in his corner of the clubhouse, both at home and on the road, and said very little about the possibility of the Tigers trading off players at the trade deadline later this month.
Do not take his silence for disinterest.
“They have to do what they have to do to get this team better,” Cabrera said before Sunday's game against the Indians. “It’s not part of my business. But if they are going to trade me, trade me. If they are going to trade these guys (teammates), trade these guys.
“But I don’t like to come here every day and hear about how they are going to trade this guy and trade that guy. Do something and then that’s it.”
Cabrera didn’t say the trade chatter had become a distraction; more it’s become an annoyance, especially at a time when the team is struggling to win games and stay afloat.
“We’re human, man,” he said. “We think. We feel. We feel everything. It’s hard when you hear that every day…We’re trying to worry about playing and trying to win, not about this guy’s getting traded or that guy’s getting traded.”
J.D. Martinez, who along with Justin Wilson and Justin Verlander is mentioned most often on the rumor circuit, also is anxious for resolution.
“You try to ignore it and keep your mind on playing the game,” Martinez said. “But you are constantly hearing about it. It’s annoying. Everyone is always asking about it — especially family and friends. But, that’s the game we play.”
Manager Brad Ausmus has been mostly quiet on the topic, as well, his go-to answer being that it’s out of his control and more within general manager Al Avila’s purview. But on Sunday, perhaps in defense of his players, he spoke out.
“Unfortunately, it is the nature of the business now for players to have to deal with it,” Ausmus said. “It can be unsettling.”
Even though Avila has made it known that he was open to listening to offers on anybody on the roster, Ausmus isn’t expecting a significant clear-out sale.
“People can talk about all the names of players who can be traded, but the truth is, the majority of guys will probably still be here when it’s all said and done,” Ausmus said. “I’ve said it before, it’s hard to make trades.”
Avila has said the same thing, and it’s been borne out by the fact that Avila has had his phone lines open since last winter and hasn’t made any significant trades.
“First you have to find somebody who has a need that matches up with someone you are willing to trade,” Ausmus said. “And they have to have the pieces and the finances if it involves a big contract. They have to have the pieces to send back to you and be able to take on the finances.
“It just isn’t that easy. And the team has to be in contention. So you start to whittle down the number of teams that would even want to make a trade.”
Compounding the difficulty is the reality that there are more teams in sell-mode than there are buyers. The market is flooded, making it a buyer’s market.
“Really, going back to Mr. I (late owner Mike Ilitch) and Chris (Ilitch) now, they’ve always wanted a good baseball team for the city of Detroit,” Ausmus said. “So I also don’t think they would be in a rush to do anything rash — that’s also part of it. They take a lot of pride in the Detroit Tigers being a beacon of light for the city of Detroit.”
If trades are made, if Avila is able to clear the deck of four or five players, Cabrera isn’t concerned about being the last guy on the island.
“I mean, I don’t worry about that,” Cabrera said. “There’s JV and Victor (Martinez), other than that, the other guys have only been here two or three years. Most of the guys I played with for a long time are gone anyway.
“That’s no big difference to me. It’s baseball.”
The consensus around the room, as Cabrera stated, is whatever they’re going to do — do it already and let’s move forward.
“My hope is that there are no trades made for whatever reason,” Ausmus said. “Because what I said before, I truly believe guys are going to get back to playing at their normal levels. And we can come into the second half and have a resurgence. That to me would be the perfect story.
“But I don’t know if that’s how it’s going to shake out.”