Yes, there's still free agency for Tigers
While trade rumors build around the Tigers regarding players they control, their interest in their own free agents hasn’t gone away, at least not for most of them.
The Tigers have had contact with the agents for relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, second baseman Placido Polanco and shortstop Adam Everett, but those discussions were believed to be preliminary ahead of follow-up talks later.
Meanwhile, president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed to Booth Newspapers that they will not be pursuing free agents Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff, both late-season trade acquisitions for the Tigers this past summer who struggled down the stretch.
Neither was expected to be a Tigers target. Washburn had told reporters last week that he hadn’t heard from the Tigers other than to check on his knee after surgery.
“We called both Jarrod and Aubrey this week and told them we will not be pursuing them,” Dombrowski told Booth Newspapers. “We wished them well.”
Dombrowski said the team had not made such calls to its other four free agents.
The Tigers acquired Washburn from Seattle at the nonwaiver trade deadline July 31, but knee problems hampered him in August and September until the Tigers shut him down for the final couple weeks. He posted a 1-3 record and 7.33 ERA in eight Tigers starts, compared with an 8-6 record and 2.64 ERA in 20 starts for the Mariners.
Huff batted .189 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 40 games for the Tigers after coming over from Baltimore in a mid-August trade. Detroit’s plans to rotate players between designated hitter and the outfield, including Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen, essentially sealed Huff’s departure.
The Tigers hold exclusive negotiating rights on their free agents for seven more days. Other teams can talk to them now, and all four have drawn interest, but those teams can’t make contract offers or talk contract terms until next Friday.
By then, the Tigers should have a better idea about any trade talks, where they may lead, and what holes any deals could fill.
All four are expected to seek multi-year contracts, according to industry sources, but that’s no surprise. The Tigers didn’t sign any free agent or arbitration-eligible player to a multi-year contract last year, and aside from possibly Justin Verlander, it remains to be seen whether they would do so now.
Prospect Scott Sizemore has been deemed ready for the big leagues, while relievers Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt could conceivably be ready within a year. Shortstop is a different situation, and barring a trade acquisition, there’s expected to be mutual interest for Everett to return.