November 1st, 2011

Dombrowski: Ordonez, Guillen likely gone, iffy on Santiago

Lot of updates from president/GM Dave Dombrowski today in his talk with reporters. More in-depth stuff coming, but here’s the rundown …

  • Dombrowski said there won’t be a “real strong push” to bring a lot of their free agents back. Most likely, he said, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen are done as Tigers. “I would say in their case it’s highly unlikely they’re going to be back. In both cases,” said Dombrowski, who said he let both of them know that in the last month of the season.
  • Brad Penny also won’t be back. “With the young pitching we have coming, I would doubt we would re-sign him,” Dombrowski said.
  • Dombrowski wasn’t completely clear on the fifth starter situation. Ideally, he said, they’ll have a veteran as “protection” in case Jacob Turner or one of their other young guys aren’t ready. At another point, though, he said that if they sign a veteran for the job, Turner would start the season at Triple-A Toledo.
  • Here’s the main quote on the rotation: “The most likely scenario would be that those young guys come to camp with the four guys that are set and  compete for the fifth spot, and we have protection of a veteran type pitcher that can fill that if they’re not ready. But I also would say that, hey, if there’s some great starting pitcher that we really liked and was available for us, and we thought it was the type of move that made the most sense to get us better, would we be open to it? Yes. We like them all. We like every one of those pitchers. But can I tell you 100 percent that they’re ready? No. Now, can they be ready? Yes.”
  • Ramon Santiago is basically in a bad situation, at least as far as returning to Detroit goes. There’s mutual interest,  but Santiago wants a more regular role, and the Tigers don’t see him that way. “I think our feeling has been that we just don’t see him as the guy going out there and playing – we may be wrong – 150 games a year,” Dombrowski said. “We just don’t happen to see him as that guy, and we may be wrong. He’s done a very fine job for us and we like him a lot, but that’s not the role we see him in. If we thought he was our everyday second baseman, we’d go out and we’d make that move.”
  • This quote from Dombrowski on the market for free agents at second and third base is pretty telling: “I don’t think they’re real strong. And that’s why, too, not only free agents, you’d also have to talk about the possibility of trades, too.”
  • His evaluation on how slow this market will move compared with the way they took care of business quickly last year was also telling: “I don’t think we’re going to be rushing out like we did last year. We’re in a different situation than we were last year, where we identified a couple guys right off the bat in [Victor] Martinez and [Joaquin] Benoit. We’re still prepared; I don’t mean to say that we couldn’t make a move if the right move came about. But I wouldn’t think we would make a real quick move. I think we’ll take more time to go through it and let it work itself out.”
  • The Tigers are open to re-signing Joel Zumaya, but it would have to be a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invite. At this point, it sounds like the Tigers expect Zumaya to wait and see if another team offers him a Major League deal. “He’d like to come back, and we would like to have him back,” Dombrowski said.
  • While Dombrowski didn’t anoint Delmon Young as the starting left fielder, he said he looks at his outfield being Young alongside Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch. But he left open the possibility they could try to upgrade in left, and he acknowledged they have time before they have to decide whether to tender a contract to the arbitration-eligible Young.
  • Tigers will look at both free agents and trades to upgrade at second. They will look at possibilities at third as well. That said, Dombrowski left open the possibility they upgrade at one spot and platoon at the other. They could also go with grinders there. “You can never have enough good players,” Dombrowski said, “but you don’t want all star players. You want some of those gritty role-type players. Jim likes those on his club and is very successful at fitting them into his club.”
  • Dombrowski confirmed that the Tigers will look for a backup hitting catcher, preferably a right-handed hitter, to back up Alex Avila. The challenge, Dombrowski acknowledged, is convincing a good catcher to sign with a team where he isn’t likely to play very often. Even with a drop in playing time, Dombrowski said Avila could catch 120-125 games next year. He is an All-Star, after all.
  • The Tigers are open to possibly beefing up their bullpen with one more veteran, Dombrowski said, but he probably wouldn’t be a seventh- or eighth-inning setup guy. They like the core they have with Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque and Daniel Schlereth.
  • No chance of Phil Coke returning to the rotation.
  • Dombrowski basically threw down the challenge to Ryan Perry. ” He’s at the point where he needs to step it up for us,” Dombrowski said.
  • The door is open for the Tigers to add a leadoff hitter, but that isn’t a sure thing. “We need to get better offensive production out of Austin [Jackson],” Dombrowski said. “We think he’s capable of doing that. Will he be our leadoff hitter next season? We really can’t answer that question.”
  •  Chances of the Tigers shifting Jhonny Peralta to third base and pursuing Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins? Not likely. Peralta is sounding very likely to stick at short. “I would think so,” Dombrowski said. “Would I say 100 percent? No. Would I say most likely? Yes.”
  • Another factor seemingly working against a Reyes pursuit: The Tigers have their quota of $20 million players for the foreseeable future. “I would think so,” Dombrowski said.
  • The entire coaching staff will be back for next season, Dombrowski announced, unless somebody gets hired for a managerial job elsewhere. Dombrowski said he has not received any calls so far asking permission to talk with McClendon for such a job, but he would have no problem granting permission.
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