Dombrowski: We have to build

Dave Dombrowski characterized the Tigers’ courtship of Carl Crawford much the same as he did for Jayson Werth a few days ago: They inquired, heard the contract expectations, and moved on.

“I mean, you have to like Carl Crawford,” Dombrowski said. “When we were in our situation, we sat down and we looked at it. Any preliminary conversations we had were in a position where those were the type of dollars that they were looking for, and we were not prepared to go into that area with what we were trying to do. That’s why we had a feeling of that early and we went in a different direction.

“We never had any serious conversations, never had any feel. We always told them we like the player, but it’s just not the area we felt comfortable going to.”

They weren’t comfortable doing seven years and $20 million a season for Crawford, or Werth, or Cliff Lee. They weren’t comfortable doing that for anybody, really. It didn’t fit in the big picture of what they were looking to do.

“We have a wonderful owner, to me as fine as anybody in baseball,” Dombrowski said. “When you put together your club, short of a couple clubs, you can only have so many players that are making $20 million a year. We have two. So sometimes you choose those two and build around them. When you’re doing it, it’s always a combination of trying to put everything together.

“When you’re looking at it, we chose Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander to be our two key guys. We have a wonderful situation, fantastic, great owner, but you have to build. To me, you build around those guys.”

Is it a new financial reality for the Tigers? Maybe a little, but not really a shock. I can’t imagine many people expected Detroit to spend all $60 million or whatever of the payroll space that opened up in expiring contracts. On the other hand, the payroll is just under $100 million as is. Assuming the Tigers re-sign Magglio Ordonez around $10 million a season — not saying it’s happening, just predicting — payroll will spill just over $100 million heading into Spring Training.

Everybody remembers owner Mike Ilitch telling reporters at the Mike Modano press conference that he’s still going to spend on his baseball team. But lost in those remarks was the quote where he says he’s learned from recent years and that they have to make smart decisions. They signed Victor Martinez at a price that looks very good right now. They acknowledged the new market on setup relievers and signed Joaquin Benoit to a three-year deal they didn’t want but needed to do, and they’re the most likely team to get Ordonez.

It’s more than a lot of teams will do this winter. It’s just not what some might have expected or hoped.

19 Comments

Every team would love to have a Crawford.
Tampa was able to put together a pretty good
team without the huge payroll burden.
That’s why good general managers get
good scouts and find talent that can become
big name players with the help of quality
coaching staff.
LETS GO TIGERS!!!!

I’m not too disappointed. If Werth had not gotten such an obscene contract, maybe we could really have been in the mix for Crawford. I love Magglio and hope he returns.
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There’s still lots of time to make changes here and there. Mr. Dombrowski has stunned some of us with his trades. He may yet come up with one.
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And, we may see someone emerge from Spring Training with a roster spot.

The key point was already having two $20 mil players on the roster. New York or Boston can buy their playoff entries but most other teams have to actually earn it. The popular Yankee teams of the late 90s fell into that category, but no longer. The one thing about the Crawford contract, however, is that it will look like a bargain in a few years, the way salaries keep going up. Or he could lose his speed or get injured.
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I’m not excited about Josh Willingham, and I’ve seen him play. “The Hammer” is a great nickname but in reality, he’s a Ryan Raburn type player. I’m serious. No point in acquiring Willingham because Raburn can do the exact same thing.
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Overall, I think we make a mistake by rushing our top youngsters to the big leagues. Maybin, Miller, Perry, Porcello, Oliver, etc. We didn’t do that with Granderson and the Yankees didn’t do it with Jackson and both those guys are solid major leaguers now. Not everyone is a Verlander type of person.
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–Rich

Im not disppointed that we didnt sign Crawford, that is too much money. I am disspointed that Dombrowski came home empty handed with nothing at all.

We had interest in Tom Gorzalany from the Cubs-left handed Pitcter and 2 outfielders Josh Willingham -Nationals and Ryan Ludwick -Padres and werent able to trade for either one which would have made this team better.

The problem is that we have nothing worth trading in the Farm System, nobody that any team really wants and this is a huge problem.

My next hope is that Mr. Dombrowski not offer a contract to Jim Leland unless the Tigers are truly competitive and I mean all the way down to the wire. No more game 163’s. No more setting records in MLB for being in 1st place the longest and choking at the end to lose it. I can’t take it anymore.

Is it too late to consider Zack Grienke ? There are plenty of home grown outfielders.

I am with you on Grienke. Look at the World Series Champions. They won on great pitching, not a bunch of superstar hitters.

this team has the talent to compete, but keeping the injury prone guys on the field (Zumaya, Guillen, Benoit) is so important. look at Boston last season…a load of talent and payroll but decimated by injury.


any word yet on which direction Miner is leaning?

As of early this week, Miner’s agent (Boras) and the Tigers had talks on his situation, but no contract offer. Not sure yet if that changed during the winter meetings.

Not sure Dombrowski’s in a position to offer Leyland a contract until his own contract situation is resolved. It’s a contract year for everybody, from the GM to the manager to the coaches and scouts.

Thinking out loud: I wonder if any organizations have female scouts. I would love to do that.

Short of some kind of scandal or an impasse over salary, I can’t imagine Dombrowski wouldn’t be signed on again if he wants it. Looking at the overall organization, there has been a vast improvement throughout the decade.
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–Rich

I hope Mr. Dombrowki stays with the Tigers. He has brought us back from the brinks of utter despair.
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I’d like to see better scouting in the Tigers’ organization, but other than that, he’s made us players again in MLB. No GM makes all the right decisions, but he’s made some good ones for the Tigers.

OK, so we didnt sign Dunn,Crawford,werth,Uggla,Lee,Adrian Gonzalles,Herin. the list could go on,. So this leaves me always saying,the rest of the team, like Inge,Avila,Boesch an others,have too step up to the plate….. and the team would take the division. But you know thats what everybody says about there team…..The Yankees will always be good,because they spent the money for the talent an on an off day there team still plays good. This same go,s for the B.O sox now,they have enough talent now so if crawford an another have a bad day the rest of the team can pick it up. What happen if Cabrera an Martinez have an off day?

I would have JV pitch too Boesch an Inge an Avila all winter long.

No, not $ 60 million, and not whatever. The amount is $ 75 million that came off the payroll due to expiring contracts. I didn’t expect the Tigers to pay $ 142 million plus for Werth, or Crawford. I don’t expect them to buy Cliff Lee, or to spend all the money that came off the payroll. But with $ 34million allocated to starting pitchers that are gone, and with the league’s 11th best rotation at a 4.46 ERA, I do expect a better answer for the rotation than pretending that Phil Coke is the answer. I do expect more of an upgrade in the penthan swapping out Coke for Benoit. And I do expect Magglio or his replacement hitting in the No. 3 slot, rather than some AAA player. I think that’s reasonable.

Yes, it is reasonable, Mr. Dombrowski.

The pitching is what it is, a possible trade for grenke could be a stretch but we have guillen, wells, and one of three good pitching prospects to trade maybe pay part of guillen contract, it might work. Scoring runs is the name of the game in Detroit this year. Magillo at around 10 mil is around 100 mil. Beltre is asking for 17 mil, under 120 mil a great team. Think about, Jackson .298 4 hr, Rhymes 304 1 hr, Martinez .302 20hr, Cabarea .328 38 hr, Beltre .312 30+hr, Ordonez .303 12hr 59 gms, Rayburn .280 15 hr, Peralta .249 15 hr, Inge .247 13 hr. That works out to .291 average and 150 hr and some are partial seasons. Mix and match at second base guarantee we win more than 81, it might cost but fantasy is what it is.

The pitching is what it is, a possible trade for grenke could be a stretch but we have guillen, wells, and one of three good pitching prospects to trade maybe pay part of guillen contract, it might work. Scoring runs is the name of the game in Detroit this year. Magillo at around 10 mil is around 100 mil. Beltre is asking for 17 mil, under 120 mil a great team. Think about, Jackson .298 4 hr, Rhymes 304 1 hr, Martinez .302 20hr, Cabarea .328 38 hr, Beltre .312 30+hr, Ordonez .303 12hr 59 gms, Rayburn .280 15 hr, Peralta .249 15 hr, Inge .247 13 hr. That works out to .291 average and 150 hr and some are partial seasons. Mix and match at second base guarantee we win more than 81, it might cost but fantasy is what it is.

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