Tigers begin free-agent process
Now that the Tigers have re-signed Jhonny Peralta, they can turn their attention to other teams’ free agents as they try to fill their offseason needs. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski’s comments Monday morning suggested they aren’t wasting any time getting to that.
“I think we’ve reached a point where we know what we’re going to do,” Dombrowski said on a conference call with reporters to discuss the Peralta deal, “and it would give me no benefit to tell you exactly what our plan is. We know what our thought process is. We know where we want to go. We’re moving in that direction. … For us, we’ve started the process, and that means that at times you’re already talking to people at this time.”
Judging from those remarks, it’s safe to say that the Tigers are reaching out to agents at this point. That doesn’t mean they’re close on anything, or that any top free agents are going to sign quickly. The deadline for teams to offer arbitration to free agents, and thus put themselves in line for compensation if those players sign elsewhere, isn’t for another 2 1/2 weeks. More than anything, it means the Tigers are reacting to the sped-up timeframe and deadlines of this offseason compared to previous ones, and that the Tigers are trying to be nimble on their feet, as Dombrowski put it last month.
“I do know that [the new deates] will expedite it because it has expedited it for us,” Dombrowski said. “We have already had meetings and are prepared to move forward on some situations.”
The Tigers had the Major League portion of their end-of-season meetings two weeks ago in Detroit. That’s where team officials and scouts go over evaluate the free-agent and potential trade markets and prioritize.
With openings at the DH slot and both corner outfield positions, plus at-bats available for a catcher to at least face left-handed starting pitchers, the Tigers have a lot of roster flexibility for a team in the market for a top offensive free agent. Anyone from catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez to first baseman Adam Dunn and outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth could fit into the Tigers’ plans.
The Tigers have the flexibilty to react and rebound if and when free agents sign elsewhere and get crossed off their list. But first, they need something to react to.