Quiet at Deadline, Tigers to improve internally

Zimmermann, J.D. Martinez expected back this week; relief prospect Jimenez potential callup

Quiet at Deadline, Tigers to improve internally

DETROIT -- The Tigers will be getting additions for the stretch run this week as they make a run for a postseason spot. They will not be doing so with a major trade.

In the end, Al Avila's first Trade Deadline as general manager went as forecast. The Tigers talked deals leading up to Monday's 4 p.m. ET Deadline to swap players without having to pass them through waivers, but stuck to their stance that they wouldn't give up talent from their Major League roster.

No Michael Fulmer, no Daniel Norris, no Matt Boyd. No deal.

"Plenty of talk," Avila confirmed in a text message, "but prudence prevailed."

Norris' eight strikeouts

The Tigers continued talks with clubs Monday about starting pitching, trying to deepen a rotation that has two starters on the disabled list and another dealing with a back strain. The hangup comes back to a Tigers farm system where most of the Major League-ready talent is in the Majors, and the next tier of prospects is too far from the big leagues to headline a package for a deal.

The Tigers were competing against, among other teams, the Cubs, Indians and Astros, organizations that boast a stockpile of prospects in part by holding onto prospects over the years. Detroit is trying to build that type of organizational depth.

"We put this team together in the wintertime thinking this is the team that's going to compete and get us into the playoffs," Avila said a week ago, "and we're going to stay that course."

Barring a waiver deal, the Tigers will count on help from within. Jordan Zimmermann is expected to rejoin the rotation later this week if he gets through a Tuesday bullpen session without any issues. Norris is throwing bullpen sessions and awaiting his activation from the DL after three Minor League rehab starts.

"We're not going to acquire better guys than Zimmermann right now," Avila said a week ago, "and Norris is a guy that, quite frankly, has got a bright future ahead of him and we have control over that over the next few years. That's a great situation to be in, so right now, it behooves us to stay the course."

Martinez's big game at the plate

Meanwhile, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he expects right fielder J.D. Martinez back by the end of the week after missing the past month with a fractured right elbow. He's expected to start in right field for the first time in his rehab assignment for Triple-A Toledo after serving as a designated hitter the past few days.

Meanwhile, Tigers No. 5 prospect Joe Jimenez is in line for a potential late-season callup -- likely September, possibly sooner if necessary -- after being promoted to Toledo a few days ago. His rise kept the Tigers on the periphery of an expensive bullpen market that never dropped in price. The potential boost of calling up Jimenez outweighed paying the price to acquire a veteran reliever.

Teams can still swing deals in August as players clear waivers, but the Tigers aren't positioned well for that market. Most top targets will be blocked by waiver claims, either from non-contenders or teams on the fringe of contention. Players that clear waivers tend to do so due to large contracts, and the Tigers -- already paying luxury tax this season -- have made it clear they're not in position to bulk up payroll.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.