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.