No extension for Leyland … yet

He met with Dave Dombrowski this morning. Dombrowski said he was prepared to offer a multi-year contract but Leyland, as planned, expressed interest in simply adding another year onto his contract to take it through 2009. There’s no deal yet, according to Dombrowski, who added that he has to talk with owner Mike Ilitch on the issue. He wouldn’t comment on whether and when he would expect a deal in place, but he said he hopes to talk with Ilitch about it in the next couple days.

Other highlights from Dombrowski’s end-of-season press conference …

  • He indicated the Tigers have not yet made a final decision on whether or not to pick up Ivan Rodriguez’s contract option, and that they might not have one until the deadline, which is 10 days after the World Series. When it was asked whether the Tigers would’ve decided it right away if they were going to pick up the option, Dombrowski said that’s not necessarily true, that they might want to see what their options are.
  • They’ve expressed their interest in bringing Todd Jones back for next year, but while he would come back as a closer to start the year, they wouldn’t commit to keeping him there as the season went on. Jones wanted to wait on that and see what his options are, particularly whether a team close to his Alabama home would have any interest in him. Dombrowski wouldn’t name the team, but obviously it’s the Braves.
  • Dombrowski backed up Leyland’s view that they have three rotation spots set, but added that they’ll leave one spot open for one of their younger pitchers to win in a spring training competition. The other spot will go to either Kenny Rogers, if he decides to come back, or to another veteran pitcher to be signed if Rogers doesn’t return.
  • Ramon Santiago will not be the starting shortstop next season. They’ll look for another shortstop via trade or free agency.
  • Dombrowski floated the idea of a platoon in left field with Marcus Thames and a left-handed hitter that they could sign. However, as he admitted, they’ve tried for a couple years now to acquire a left-handed hitting outfielder and haven’t pulled it off.
  • Jair Jurrjens is going to spend the offseason staying with Gary Sheffield in Tampa and working out with Sheffield’s personal trainer. The goal is to get Jurrjens stronger.
  • Unless something unforeseen comes out of Sheffield’s talk with the doctor later this week, Dombrowski expects him to be fine heading into next season.

8 Comments

Hey Jason. Good work this season. If I had my druthers, I’d ask how I could get a gig like yours. Wait, I just did.

Anyway, I enjoyed your writing this year. I look forward to more.

For S & G’s here’s my blog:

http://groundballwitheyes.mlblogs.com/the_ground_ball_with_eyes/

Good news about Sheff. I thought his prognosis originally wasn’t that good. I still like Santiago at short. I see him as an Eckstein type of SS. He’ll not hit for big production but will take away a lot of hits. I could even see him as a lead off hitter. But if they want to entertain thoughts of signing A Rod, great. Waiting on picking up Pudge’s option kind of betrays a lack of enthusiasm in keeping him. No one has said a word about Vance. How is he doing, or did I miss the memo. I think Jair’s staying with Sheff sounds interesting. What… did Sheff just open his home to Jair? Generous of him. I’d like to see Marcus stay and finally be given one real chance to prove himself in a starting role. I’m not holding my breath. Brent, I like your picks. I did notice Grilli is not on your roster however. He looked awfully good in the final game. Must have had great ball movement because Chicago hitters were swinging at everything he threw.

Mart, I’d be enthusiastic to sign Pudge but not at $13mill. That’s way too much for a player of his CURRENT stature. You could probably get one that would hit .270-.280 with 10 hrs/60rbi for half that. Also the AL will realize in the o/s they can run more on him in 2008.

On Wilson, the type of injury to his throwing shoulder that Wilson had is something you just can’t count on healing right. A compromise might be to offer Pudge a new contract for say $8-9mill. Don’t think anyone is going to pay him more than that. Also, yes definitely bat him one to two spots lower in the order.

Santiago hit right around .280. Not sure how many ab’s he had but, I think enough to warrant a try as the starter in ’08 coupled with that excellent defense. However, it doesn’t matter what we think, DD has stated they are getting another SS. What worries me, is 2/3 of the top three starters were anything but stellar this yr. I believe both Robertson and Bondo had era right around 5. Terrible! You can’t count on that! The best acquisition we could make is a HEALTHY Sheffield. The next best is a more seasoned Maybin. He can’t be as bad as he showed this year. I won’t believe the scouts could be that wrong.

Jones is like a comfortable pair of shoes, nice but not irreplaceable. If we sign him great and if we don’t great.

So I think the answer is “look inward young man and you will find your way”. Most of our answers to pick up another seven wins are right in the system:

1. Healthy Sheff.

2. Give Thames a try.

3. Maybin a contributor in 2nd half.

4. Sign one mid-priced vet starter(possibly Rogers).

5. Sign a mid-priced catcher (possibly Pudge).

6. Sign a mid-priced closer (possibly Jones).

7. Ok if you feel you must sign a mid-priced SS.

8. Keep Zumaya at set up one more yr.

9. Let Rabourne take away some of Inge’s bats at third.

10. Nice compliment of reserve players that you use, i.e Santiago, Perez, Rabourne etc.

11. Good health all the way around.

Adds up to 96 wins and the playoffs!!!

Marty– You had better be joking about Grilli. I know he’s supposed to be a great person but, strictly speaking pitching, the guys a gas can. He has great stuff but I don’t think he has any idea where its going when it leaves his hand.

Tennant– I agree with your list but don’t know how realistic 4-7 is. There just don’t seem to be many useful mid-priced guys left. I do like the idea of giving Thames a chance– I think he could be the big bat we all want to see. Additionally, if it doesn’t work out, it gives the Tigers another reason to call up Maybin in the second half.

Well, to be fair, the Chicago hitters, down 12-3 in the final game of the year, weren’t exactly working the count. They just wanted to go home. I also don’t think Grilli is a gas can. He pitched pretty well down the stretch. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, and in the case of Jason Grilli, it’s all about consistency. I’m afraid if we dropped him he’d find it elsewhere. I think with JL in charge, we can “rest” assured that Grilli will be here next year. For better or worse.

Brent. I guess I wasn’t joking about Grilli. But here’s where I’m coming from. I’m not a huge fan of Jason but I have come to appreciate him more in the last couple of months. Here’s what he’s not: He’s not a closer, a set up man, a situational lefty or righty for that matter. He’s a guy every team needs one or two of. He eats up innings and doesn’t seem to mind that role. Keep in mind he pitched 79.2 innings, 5th most by all Tiger pitchers. His record was 5-3, ERA 4.74, 62 SO, 32 BB(hmm…control problems?), and he only gave up 5 HR’s. It may have seemed like more. Those aren’t the numbers of a gas can. This I’ll give you though Brent, stats can be misleading, and we all have images of his blowing 2 of 2 save opportunities, and failing to hold a game or 3 when called to do so. He’s not a guy to bring in in pressure situations. Unfortunately, when Rodney and Zumaya went down Grilli and others couldn’t fill the breech, and when the hitting finally went cold we got flanked. But be fair, no one else filled that gap either. So can the Tigers upgrade by bringing up the younger guys like Bazardo? Sure. Might work, might not. One other thing that sticks in my mind about Grilli is that he, along with Jones, seemed to give up more bleeders, flairs, and seeing eye singles than anyone else I can think of. He just never seemed to have the luck or the mojo as we were describing it. Few people other than family and close friends are going to wear the name of the 10th,11th,or 12th pitcher on their mlb game jersey but these guys are still needed. Brent, I didn’t mean to go into this much detail to make a point. Sheesh. I am glad to see your support of Thames and I agree, Maybin will be ready. I don’t think his failures will hurt his confidence and psyche one iota. The experience can only help. I disagree with those of you who thought his “poor” self esteem would be bruised:-) Don’t you think he was absolutely thrilled to have a chance to play for the big team? It’s absolutely invaluable. You can’t protect everyone from failure in life. Our society sure tries. Failure is how you learn and grow. It builds character, teaches, and makes you hungrier. If he’s the real deal he’ll be fine. And to hold him back deprives him of an earlier start at career stats. I like this team but you’ve got to continue to infuse it with youth. I don’t mind seeing Maybin on opening day but not at Thames’ or even Raburn’s expense.

Just a few interesting stats cause I know Rich likes them:-)

Combined records:

Jones, Zumaya, Rodney 5-13

Maroth, Ledezma 8-3

Seay, Byrdak 6-0

Durbin, Miner 11-11

Miller, Jurrjens, Bazardo, Vasquez, Tata 11-9

This on Carlos Pena. Congratulations to him. I said it when it happened, we should not have let him go. He was a class guy, just young. Now management is searching for just those stats and willing to pay well for them I bet. When scoring a GM you have to weigh these deals along with the Polanco ones to get the real picture. Sorry DD.

Thanks for addressing my thoughts JT and Brent. JT I agree with all but #7. Santiago would be as good as any mid priced SS imo. 8 mil is plenty for Pudge. Sign Jones unless he wants to go play for the Braves.

Pena would look good-no doubt. I always liked him and even more now.
To be fair to DD though-he did give him a chance and also to be fair to DD while Maroth and ledezma were 8-3 when they were here they were 0-7 after they left!!

Marty, that was an excellent post and the best defense of Jason Grilli I’ve ever read. You must have been talking to Leyland, because I’ll bet Jim would say the exact same thing. And that’s a compliment, if I wasn’t clear.

I can’t remember if any of us discussed Maybin losing confidence. I know we talked about it with Miller, and that one is still a concern with me.

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