'We're not rebuilding anymore': Avila says Tigers looking to add talent, not trade it

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
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Detroit — Tigers general manager Al Avila took a few minutes before the game here Tuesday to remind the media and the fan base, with the trade deadline just 10 days away, that this isn’t 2017 anymore.

“We are in a totally different situation right now,” he said. “We have no pressure at all to make any trade. We don’t have any aging players we want to trade to rebuild. We’re on the upswing. We have no need to make a trade to move salary.

Tigers GM Al Avila

"We like our young players and we’re trying to bring in more talented players. We’re trying to get better. We’re not rebuilding anymore, we’re building.”

Avila said he’s had “preliminary” talks with general managers around the league on several players, but he said no deals were imminent. Certainly infielder Jonathan Schoop, who is on an expiring contract, has drawn some cursory interest, but Avila downplayed even that.

“You can imagine how many good players are out there (on the trade market),” he said. “I think there are more guys available out there than there are teams really looking. We’ll see how that develops.”

The difference between this trade deadline and those the past few years is the Tigers are dealing from a more stable position. There are no contracts they need to off-load.

“If we make a trade, it has to make us better not only this year, but the next year and the year after that,” Avila said. “Those are hard deals to make, as you can imagine. We will see where that takes us between now and the deadline.”

More: Tigers' Spencer Turnbull done for season, headed for Tommy John surgery

Had starting pitchers Matthew Boyd or Spencer Turnbull been healthy, the Tigers may have been at the epicenter of the trade rumor mill. Most contending teams are looking for pitching, especially starting pitching.

"You still have to be open-minded," Avila said. "Something might come together or nothing might make sense for us. Usually at this time of year there is more speculation, more people fantasizing about what could be and what might happen and pretending different scenarios. 

"Quite frankly sometimes they aren't realistic. But at the same time you have to be open-minded to anything that could be possible."

Fulmer ramping up

Manager AJ Hinch and pitching coach Chris Fetter were able to watch injured right-hander Michael Fulmer throw a bullpen in Lakeland on Tuesday and were encouraged.

“It was an aggressive one,” Hinch said. “He threw a hard bullpen, throwing in the mid-90s. That’s a good thing. It’s like a simulated game every time he gets on the mound. It’s also an indication he’s feeling pretty good about himself.”

If there are no complications after the session, Hinch said Fulmer might be starting a rehab assignment in Toledo as early as this weekend.

He’s been out since June 27 with a neck strain.

Around the horn

… With Jake Rogers out for at least three weeks (pronator strain), Hinch said Eric Haase would be the primary catcher. “Haase will get the bulk of the games with Grayson (Greiner) acting as more of a traditional backup,” Hinch said. “That can change a little bit, obviously. What do we need, who are we facing — that will factor in. But basically it will be two or three games on for Haase, one for Greiner.”

… Akil Baddoo is pushing his way into the rookie of the year conversation. Among rookies with a minimum of 200 at-bats, he leads in stolen bases (14) and OPS (.836) and is second in slugging percentage (.480) and walk rate (11.1%). His .278 average and .356 on-base percentage rank third.

Twitter@cmccosky

On deck: Rangers

►First pitch: 7:10 p.m.

►TV/Radio: BSD, 97.1

Scouting report

►RHP Jordan Lyles (5-6, 4.22), Rangers: After a run of four strong starts (two runs or less), he was lit up by the Blue Jays in his last outing (six runs in four innings). He’s allowed 21 home runs, second most in baseball. He primary pitch, four-seam fastball (93 mph) has been hit hard and often, opponents slugging .620 off it.

►RHP Matt Manning (1-3, 6.95), Tigers: The Tigers are hoping he can build off his last start, which was July 9 in Minnesota, where he effectively mixed all three of his secondary pitches off well-located fastballs. There is some concern that his fastball is sitting at 93 mph. He’s always been a mid-90s guy who can hit 97 and 98 mph.

— Chris McCosky

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