Avila keeps players in loop on trade rumors

Tigers GM has prepared Cabrera, Verlander, Kinsler

Avila keeps players in loop on trade rumors

The Tigers' trade chatter continued Wednesday at baseball's General Managers Meetings, with several teams joining the conversation on Detroit's potential payroll-reducing deals. But some of the most important conversations for general manager Al Avila took place before he arrived.

Before he began talking with teams, Avila talked to the players potentially involved. He wanted to prepare them for the trade rumors that could follow.

"People are going to speculate," Avila told reporters, including MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, "and all it takes is one person and one player and all of a sudden it takes root. Whether it's substantial or not, it's going to be out there. That's just the nature of the beast and how the media works. …

"I actually talked to all the [players who could be traded] at least once, and a couple of them a couple of times. I talked to [Justin Verlander] before coming here."

Others who were called include Miguel Cabrera, whose name popped up in trade rumors Wednesday when MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported the Astros intend to talk with the Tigers about the former Triple Crown winner's availability.

Asked if the players understood why they could be dealt, Avila said, "I think they understand the process and what we are looking at. I think they understand what's going on. At this point, they are ready to see what happens."

One of those players is second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was celebrating the first Gold Glove award of his career while keeping an eye on the rumor mill.

"Pretty closely," Kinsler said in a text message.

Kinsler has been through the process already. He was on vacation in Hawaii when the Tigers acquired him from Texas in the Prince Fielder trade three years ago. He said later that offseason that he learned about the deal through the media like everybody else before getting a call.

Kinsler said this past season that he would like to remain a Tiger for the rest of his career. But more than most players, he also understands the business, having been traded already from the team he signed with after being drafted.

Like some other Tigers veterans, there's another big reason for Kinsler to stay in the loop. His contract includes a no-trade clause that allows him to block a deal to 10 teams, a list that is updated going into each season.

Verlander and Cabrera have full no-trade rights by virtue of the 10-and-5 rule -- 10 years in the Major Leagues, the last five of them with the same team. They would have to approve any deal involving them.

Verlander, Cabrera and Kinsler all have club options on their contracts -- Kinsler in 2018, Verlander in 2020, Cabrera in 2024 and 2025. Players with no-trade rights can often use that as leverage to get an interested team to pick up their option years in exchange for their approval.

At this point, though, that's a ways off.

"I don't think there's any [trade talks] hot and heavy right now," Avila said. "[The market] is kind of all over the place."

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.