Tigers to play with Fiers as deadline passes with no deal
Detroit — Mike Fiers returned to the clubhouse from his normal routine Tuesday afternoon, finishing his workout to prepare for his next start.
It wasn’t just any other day, though — Tuesday at 4 p.m. marked the baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, leaving many players in clubhouses around the league on edge, wondering what their immediate future might be.
Although his name was rumored to be in the trade winds, Fiers ended up staying put with the Tigers after the deadline passed. After all was said and done, the Tigers made just one deal, sending center fielder Leonys Martin and pitching prospect Kyle Dowdy to the Cleveland Indians for shortstop prospect Willi Castro.
That was it.
Lots of smoke, but no Fiers.
After his workout, Fiers seemed unaffected by the questions about whether he’d be changing teams — with reports of interest from the Oakland A’s — but that didn’t materialize.
“I don’t want to look too far and say I’m going (somewhere) or I’m staying here,” Fiers said. “I’m here and I’m getting ready for my start tomorrow.
“I’m a Tiger.”
Fiers has been one of the Tigers’ best starters this season, with a 7-6 record and a 3.54 earned-run average. With the Tigers in sell mode, the thinking was that another team would want to add a steady starter — Fiers has pitched a team-high 117 innings in 20 starts — for a stretch run toward the playoffs.
It didn’t happen, though there was some interest.
Tigers general manager Al Avila said there was some initial talk about ta deal for Fiers, but nothing materialized.
“I did receive two inquiries, of mild interest — one from Oakland and one from Milwaukee,” Avila said. “The interest was mild, so it didn’t get very far. We were hopeful, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t work out.”
Avila said that there were other potential deals but because the trade market was flooded with so many players around the league, making it a tougher-than-normal landscape for making deals. The Tigers still have an opportunity to maneuver, as the waiver deadline continues through August.
Along with the uneasiness in clubhouses in the majors, the trade deadline also creates opportunities for young players in the minor leagues. The roster movement created a spot for Mike Gerber to make the short trip from Toledo to join the Tigers on Tuesday, after the Martin trade.
Gerber, who was batting .220 with five home runs and 10 RBIs in July with the Mud Hens in Triple-A, gets his second shot with the Tigers this season, filling Martin’s spot on the 25-man roster.
It’s a good opportunity for Gerber, especially since the Tigers had other options, such as Mikie Mahtook, who also could fill the new void in center field. Gerber was as surprised as anyone when he heard that he was getting the call-up to the Tigers.
“I hadn’t heard about the trade. I was just getting food and (Mud Hens manager Doug Mientkiewicz) called and told me I was going up,” Gerber said Tuesday. “That’s when I figured there must’ve been a trade. It’s just a really good opportunity and I am going to try and take advantage of it.”
It’s been a rough go for Gerber of late, but he’s remaining optimistic that he can pull out of his hitting struggles, especially if he gets some time in Detroit to get settled in.
“I have been hitting the ball real hard, just nothing to show for it,” Gerber said Tuesday. “It is what it is; I am just going up and trying to have good at-bats every time.”
My, oh Mize
Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft, made his debut with the Single-A Lakeland Flying Tigers on Tuesday.
And he didn’t disappoint.
Mize, a right-hander out of Auburn, struck out the first two batters he faced and finished with four Ks in three innings against the Toronto Blue Jays’ affiliate in Dunedin, Fla. Mize allowed just one hit and no walks in his three innings of work.
The Tigers’ top pick last year, Florida’s Alex Faedo, was shut down for the 2017 season after he was selected, but Detroit brass opted to get an early — albeit cautious — look at Mize this year.
Tigers vs. Reds
First pitch: 1:10 Wednesday
RHP Sal Romano (6-8, 5.04), Reds: He’s pitched out of the bullpen in two of his last three appearances, but returns to the rotation after going six innings and allowing just two earned runs and getting a win against the Cardinals on July 25.
RHP Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.54), Tigers: After some mild interest at the trade deadline, Fiers is staying with the Tigers — at least for now. In his last outing, he gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in six innings.