January 3rd, 2011

Dombrowski on starting ranks, late moves

Tigers decision makers were back in the office and back at work Monday following the holiday break. That includes president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, who has been pretty busy the last couple years coming out of the holidays (Jose Valverde and Johnny Damon last year, Brandon Lyon the year before).

If there’s a late offseason surprise to come from the Tigers this time around, though, it probably won’t be a big one. While Dombrowski said they’re still open to moves, he said, he echoed sentiment that they don’t have a glaring need to fill, unlike past offseasons at this point.
That includes the rotation. Again, he didn’t rule out a move, but his comments got a little stronger that they’re prepared to take what they have into spring training.
“We feel our five guys are pretty well set,” Dombrowski said Monday.
That doesn’t mean the rotation is set going into the season. Remember, they were saying they were prepared to go into last season without an established closer before adding Valverde. And at this point last year, they weren’t even showing interest in Johnny Damon.
They’re going to give Andy Oliver a chance to compete in camp and try to take a spot, and the list of non-roster invites they announce in the coming days will probably include pitchers who can start. But any other move is not a given.
Would a free-agent signing like, say, Brad Penny, be defined as a surprise? Good question. For what it’s worth, Dombrowski said any move the Tigers make in any area at this stage of the offseason would most likely be a short-term fix, rather than any big commitment.
“Really, I guess the best way to say it is that we’re open minded,” Dombrowski said. “You always have a feel for where you are [in the market]. It’s not like you stop analyzing just because you’ve signed guys.”