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Reliever talks might not pick up until late in camp

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While the Tigers' closer situation heats up the rumor mill for a potential Spring Training trade if Detroit decides it doesn't have a sufficient answer for the ninth, the best example of the challenges of pulling off a trade in the middle of Spring Training might have been in the other clubhouse Thursday.

Though scouts had been speculating on Atlanta left-hander Jonny Venters as a potential trade option for teams needing a bullpen arm -- such as the Tigers -- the Braves were dealing with injuries to Eric O'Flaherty and Jordan Walden.

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With O'Flaherty and Walden trying to build back to game action, Atlanta's bullpen depth would be in question. MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported Thursday that trade speculation on Venters appeared unfounded.

Bullpen depth is a question several teams might have to answer before deciding whether they can afford to swing a trade, which is one reason why the vast majority of Spring Training trades -- especially significant ones -- don't take place until the final days of camp.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski would not comment on trade reports Thursday. However, he said his scouts will be out tracking teams and filing reports as they would in any spring, and keeping a pulse on how other teams' rosters will likely form.

As an example, though an ESPN Chicago report suggested Detroit would be among teams taking a "hard look" at Cubs closer Carlos Marmol, other reports said the Tigers have not had talks with the Cubs at this point. The two teams have a history of recent trade rumors that have not come to fruition, from Aramis Ramirez in 2011 to Matt Garza a year ago to Alfonso Soriano last summer and again in the offseason. The one trade the Tigers and Cubs have pulled in the last few years was the Jeff Baker deal last August, and that came with very little fanfare.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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