Detroit Tigers ‘may stay quiet’ with less than 24 hours until MLB trade deadline

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila emerged on the field before Thursday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. He found manager AJ Hinch and spoke with him, less than 24 hours before Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline.

Infielder Jonathan Schoop, who is on an expiring $4.5 million contract this season, took batting practice with his teammates, as did third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Right-handed reliever Jose Cisnero went through his typical pregame routine.

The Tigers haven’t made a trade, at least not yet.

“The last 24 hours are always the busiest 24 hours,” Hinch said Thursday. “It may stay quiet for us, I don’t know about that, but you’re seeing action pick up around the league all over and pieces are starting to move. The TV is off in the clubhouse, phones in the lockers. If my phone rings, then we’ll make whatever move necessary.

“On our team, we’re just trying to focus on beating the Orioles today and catch up on the news when we’re inside.”

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The first trade with a noteworthy name came July 22, when the Minnesota Twins sent 41-year-old slugger Nelson Cruz away from the American League Central and to the AL East’s Tampa Bay Rays. The next day, the New York Mets acquired 41-year-old left-handed starter Rich Hill from the Rays.

The San Diego Padres have been active, acquiring All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for three prospects. As of Thursday afternoon, the Padres were reportedly nearing a deal for Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner who pitched for the Tigers from 2010-14. Their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, were reportedly close to landing Kansas City Royals lefty Danny Duffy.

And the New York Yankees — still three games out of the final wild-card berth —bolstered their lineup by adding Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo, a left-handed slugger,  and reliever Joely Rodriguez. The Rangers received four prospects in returnin the Thursday-night deal. On Friday afternoon, the Yanks added Chicago Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo, another lefty.

Many more trades should pour in by Friday’s deadline.

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“I’m waiting to see what Boston does because we play them next week,” Hinch said. “My intention is to focus more on who we’re about to play and hug-watch across the way, if they want to start hugging and saying goodbye. I’m really hoping that our players can stay focused on the game.

“Some big names being moved around. Some big names being talked about. It’s great for the industry. It’s great for our sport. So much attention is around this, and then the playoff push begins.”

The Tigers could trade Schoop, Candelario and outfielder Robbie Grossman, along with a slew of relievers: Cisnero, left-hander Gregory Soto, lefty Daniel Norris, right-hander Kyle Funkhouser and righty Michael Fulmer.

The organization, though, doesn’t feel pressure to make any moves.

Avila won’t budge from his asking prices just to join the excitement by making a trade.

“I’ve been on both sides of it,” Hinch said. “When you’re acquiring players, specifically impact players, that’s the best way to go at the deadline. That’s what we want this team to get to eventually, where we’re talking about the players we’re acquiring and not holding on to the guys that we have.”

Schoop returns as DH

The Tigers scratched Schoop from Wednesday’s lineup with back tightness, but he returned for Thursday’s matchup against his former team. He was penciled in as the designated hitter, with Miguel Cabrera at first base and Willi Castro at second base.

“He’s good enough to play second or first,” Hinch said. “Jonathan’s more than healthy. He was due a DH day anyway, and I had him in the DH spot a few days ago and changed my mind, so just part of rotating the DH around.”

[ Why Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch appreciates Jonathan Schoop’s response about future ]

Gearing up for Toledo

Infielder Isaac Paredes and outfielder Daz Cameron took to the field at Comerica Park to go through a series of drills. Both players looked comfortable while working in front of athletic trainer Doug Teter.

Hinch confirmed Paredes (right hip strain) and Cameron (right toe sprain) are nearing full health.

“Paredes is doing well,” Hinch said. “He looks to be heading to Toledo here pretty soon to get some rehab games. Both he and Daz are getting really close to games. We’re hoping to stock that lineup with rehab stints, maybe as early as this weekend.”

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The Tigers also received a positive report about utility player Niko Goodrum, who ran in the outfield for Teter on Wednesday. Like Paredes and Cameron, he took grounders and swung in the batting cage. Goodrum is dealing with a left calf contusion, which sent him to the injured list July 17, retroactive to July 15.

“Niko had his best day running and agility drills in recent time,” Hinch said. “We think we’ve turned the corner with him, as well.”

Krol clears waivers

After being designated for assignment Tuesday, left-handed reliever Ian Krol cleared waivers Thursday and was sent to Triple-A Toledo. He was removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Fulmer’s return from the injured list.

Krol, 30, had a 3.86 ERA, two walks and four strikeouts over 4⅔ innings in five games.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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