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.”

11 Comments

Happy New Year to all. Jason, nice article on the Tigers MLB site. I am always optomistic as I am a die hard Tiger fan. One of the comments was that the manager has always changed the line up day to day. Agree or disagree? Let’s see how AO does in ST. We will compete, we have the talent, let’s see how management uses that talent. It’s snowing hard today. Is it Spring yet? Go Tigers, 2011. –Dave

The bullpen will be strong if Valverde has a good year, if Perry takes it to the next level, if Zumaya remains healthy, if Benoit really is as good as he was last season, if Schlereth begins to reach his potential, if we get some big outs from other guys, and if Leyland doesn’t mess it up. That’s a lot of ifs and some will happen and some won’t. I’m especially concerned that the club again seems to be depending on Zumaya being injury-free.
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We’ve got enough to make a run at it if things go right. That’s about all you can do, as most winners throughout the years had most things go right. That’s just sports.
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Has the team been strengthened? Yes. Could they use more strength? Of course. Is this going to be an intriguing year? You bet.
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Counting down the weeks.
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–Rich

Rich,
I see ST tickets go on sale Saturday. Do you have your trip planned?

I see there is some interest being expressed in regard to Bondo. I have mixed feelings about him…sorry, Rich. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see him go, but I sure wish we could find another decent starter.

http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/259036?eref=sircrc

Here’s a story on the SI website about the Yankees interest in Bonderman. Not the nicest comments left by readers regarding Bondo. I don’t think his attitude or demeanor would work very well in NY but I wish him well.

While I see there have been intelligent signings and key addistons the thought process that guys might still produce worries me. We haere we have a 5 man rotation yet what we have is closer to 2 and half. RP is still unproven to a fair degree and he MIGHT just become a very good mid-rotation starter. After that we are hoping and dreaming again. Hope That Coke can transform and dream that GMan has awesome strike-throwing potentia every time out.
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I don’t see trying a recovering Penny as a solution either.
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Oliver didn’t look ready last year–something about his demeanor doesn’t make me think it will be anything different this one.
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I don’t know how they can pull it off but they need another #2 or #3 type quality starter IMO–not a fill in for the back of the rotation.
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I wish you all well and especially Pup at this difficult time.

Spring Training 2010 saw competition for starting positions among Bonderman, Robertson, Willis, Galarraga, Miner, and Bonine. Unfortunately none of them really took hold of the opportunity and all but Galarraga are now gone. I don’t see the same competition shaping up this year unless the Tigers bring in one or two more candidates. I really don’t believe Oliver and Turner will be ready to grab and hold a starting spot. The free agent group offers only pitchers with mixed histories and suspect futures. Bonderman’s performance may be one of the better ones among pitchers who are unsigned. So that leaves a possible trade, or sticking with what they have which is wishing and hoping.

It’s possible that I have more confidence in Porcello than many do. I think our top four are fine, and there are few teams who have a strong #5 guy. I agree with bringing in some people to compete for the rotation, but I guess I’m with DD in thinking that what we have is probably do-able. I’m more concerned with the bullpen being up to snuff.
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Bonderman joining the Yankees seems to be a nightmarish scenario for all involved. Did anyone ever think we’d even be talking about this possibility?
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I’m looking forward to seeing Oliver again in spring training. I see him as having sound mechanics but got in trouble last year by going 2-0 on so many hitters. He wasn’t missing by much, nothing like what we saw with Dontrelle and Andrew Miller, so there’s hope for him. He may have been a little intimidated by his first go-around.
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You can sign Penny to one of those incentive-laden contracts and hope to luck out, I guess. If he goes for it, that is.
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I think hoping and dreaming are two different things entirely. Will Rhymes hitting 27 homers is dreaming, Porcello winning 15+ games is hoping, the way I see it.
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Mrfarms, I’m still in the planning stages of my ST trip, although I already bought my tickets last month on the flex plan. It’s not really necessary, other than for Yankee games, but I wanted to pin down some good seat locations. I’ll see what they give me.
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–Rich

Thanks, slowbyrne. It’s still going on. My mother seems to be establishing some sort of record.

Brian Bannister is going overseas to play. Isn’t he one of the guys who was a Tiger killer? Kansas City. I don’t want to even go there.

In another month or so, guys will be heading to Lakeland:)

Rich,
Before I read your post, I was thinking who has a better rotation that us besides the Phillies. I think Porcello will be good (hoping). Doesn’t every team hope their players come thru? Also good point on dreaming. Have we improved our team over last year? What team was in first place in the Central the day before the All Star break? What happened? Go Tigers, 2011. –Dave

As far as lineup selection goes I really disagree with Leyland 7 times out of 10. His “keep ‘em fresh* philosophy causes our staleness in the second half. All a hitter besides Cabby or Maggs has to do is get 4 hits and the next day you’re on the bench. It has hapened more often than I can count!!! You’re seeing the ball well, hittin it hard, and boom benchtime. That irks me to no end. Let a guy ride out his streak and then change!! Each player loses that “in the zone feeling ” and has to try to rediscover it days later, so annoying!

ps I love Rhymes but I still don’t see why they dont put Raburn at second, it’s the only position he fields with confidence ( he’s getting better in left) though. We’ve got his bat in the lineup and Wells or Boesch in left. CG is just a role player since he can’t stay in one piece. I like Galarraga in long relief.

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