Kansas City, Mo. — J.D. Martinez and Justin Wilson — if the topic is trade rumors, those are the first two Tigers players that come up. They are the two most likely to be dealt by general manager Al Avila before the July 31 deadline.
It’s become a bit old hat to Martinez, who, because he will be a free agent after the season, has been linked to trade talks since last winter. He will be the first to tell you, the distraction is worse for Wilson.
“It’s definitely getting down to it and you are hearing it a lot more,” Martinez said. “Every time you look at the TV, MLB Network or whatever, you are constantly seeing it. But I think it’s more for a guy like Justin than me right now.”
The Dodgers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Rockies and Royals are among the teams that have been reported to have interest in Martinez. Wilson has drawn interest from as many as 14 teams, according to various reports.
“That’s the need right now, that’s the market,” Martinez said of back end relievers. “There’s not that many teams that need a player like me. There are a lot that could use a player that could help, but as far as that need, I feel like he has it worse right now.”
Wilson doesn’t completely agree with that.
“The biggest difference between me and J.D. is he’s a free agent and I have another year of (team) control,” he said. “As far as teams looking at me, it’s not just for the rest of this season. They have another year with me. And maybe more.”
It’s also true that more teams need late-inning relievers, especially one with experience closing games, than power-hitting outfielders. But both seem resigned to their fate.
“I try not to think about any of that,” Wilson said. “I just try to think about tonight’s game. I know I have no control over it. If it happens, it happens. Part of the business…I’ve got a great family. We will just pack up and go if need be.”
Wilson has been traded twice already in his career — from the Pirates to the Yankees and then to the Tigers.
“The first trade was the shocking one, I guess just because I didn’t know any different,” Wilson said. “Came up with the Pirates. Once you’re traded once, it’s not a big deal. I’ve enjoyed everywhere I’ve been. Enjoy it here.
“Like I said from the get-go, I hope we win here. I hope to stay here. But it’s part of the business. If I get traded, I get traded.”
Martinez's foot is fine
J.D. Martinez, very comically, expressed his irritation at the constant worry over the condition of his right foot. Manager Brad Ausmus removed him from the game in the 10th inning Sunday after he walked and stole second base.
“It looked like he dinged the foot when it happened,” said Ausmus, who sent Mikie Mahtook in to run for him. “At the beginning of the inning we told Mahtook to be ready to run. And when he came up gimpy, I decided to put Mahtook in.”
Martinez was exasperated.
“It feels fine,” he said. “I am tired of people even talking about it.”
Martinez missed the first six-plus weeks of the season with a sprained Lisfranc ligament in the right foot. He has taken treatment on it daily throughout the season. So, some concern is warranted. But Martinez wants it known, he is fine.
“Even Brad said to me, ‘Are you fine?’” Martinez said. “I was like, ‘Yes I’m fine! Why don’t you think I am fine?’”
Ausmus told him that he was concerned when Martinez needed a minute to gather himself after stealing the base.
“Yeah, I got up and walked around because second base is like a rock, it was like sliding on concrete,” Martinez said. “It hurts. Like, give me a second and let me walk around. I don’t steal many bags, you know?
“When I am hurt, you’ll know. I will walk off the field or I will call you out. I will let you know.”
Martinez joked that next time he slid into a base he was going to pop right up give the double thumbs-up sign to the bench — “I’m good, I’m good.”
The Tigers aren’t calling it an audition for left-hander Matthew Boyd and they aren’t calling it a spot start.
The reality is he will get the ball Tuesday night, replacing Daniel Norris, who made a rehab start at Triple-A Toledo Monday.
“We will see how it goes,” Ausmus said. “It’s to be determined.”
Boyd, after starting the season in the Tigers’ rotation and faltering over his last four starts in May, made eight strong starts for the Mud Hens. He sharpened his slider, which had flattened out on him, and regained his command.
“My mission is just to live in the moment and execute pitches,” he said. “Whatever else happens outside of that is out of my control.”
Boyd posted a 2.82 ERA at Toledo, with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks in 51 innings.
“I feel like it’s all in a good spot right now,” he said. “I went down there and got better in every aspect. I really feel like I made the most out of every minute I had, using it as an opportunity to get better.”
His last start before getting sent down was at Kauffman Stadium. He gave up four runs and seven hits and 3.2 innings. But he’s not out for revenge.
“No,” Boyd said. “All I want to do is live in the moment and execute pitches.”
After Monday night's 10-2 win over the Royals, the Tigers optioned Blaine Hardy back to Toledo to clear a spot for Boyd.
Hardy got the last out of the game Monday, after Ausmus curiously removed Chad Bell, who had gotten the first two outs of the inning.
“I wanted to get Bell in the game and get him on the mound because he hadn’t pitched in a while,” Ausmus said. “But I didn’t want to get his pitch count too high in case we need him tomorrow for any length. I didn’t want to slow everyone’s night down, but we had to plan ahead.”
Bell needed 23 pitches to get through three batters.
Tigers at Royals
First pitch: 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
LHP Travis Wood (1-2, 6.06), Royals: Desperate situations call for desperate measures. After Nathan Karnes was lost to injury, Wood was given a spot start last week against the Twins. It was his first start since 2015 and he went four innings (two runs, six hits), good enough to earn a second start.
LHP Matthew Boyd (2-5, 5.69), Tigers: By all accounts, he got his command issues straightened out in eight starts at Toledo (3-3, 2.82 ERA, 53 strikeouts and 13 walks in 51 innings). He also regained the depth and movement his slider. He could have a big impact the rest of the way.