November 30th, 2011

Cespedes to work out for Tigers, Dombrowski

The Tigers have been among the many teams scouting Cuban five-tool outfielder and recent YouTube sensation Yoenis Cespedes, and they haven’t made a secret that they’ve watched him. Now, even team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is apparently going to get a first-hand look at the man who appears set to surpass Aroldis Chapman as the most hotly-pursued Cuban talent.

An industry source confirmed Dombrowski will watch Cespedes work out in the Dominican Republic, which has been Cespedes’ home since defecting from Cuba earlier this year. Credit Danny Knobler of with the first report on Dombrowski, who was out of pocket on Wednesday when the Tigers announced their two-year contract to bring back free agent infielder Ramon Santiago.

Tigers interest in a Cuban prospect is not unusual. They scouted Chapman a couple years ago and were interested before the bidding escalated. But Dombrowski’s trip to watch him is rare. Usually, international operations director Tom Moore handles those duties, with vice president Al Avila and special assistant Dick Egan making scouting trips to Latin America. Avila told the Detroit Free Press two weeks ago that they’ve scouted Cespedes several times. Special assistant David Chadd watched a Cespedes workout earlier this month.

That level of observation suggests the Tigers are serious in their interest. With the level of bidding expected, it makes sense for the man in charge to want a look. Cespedes has been working out for teams since the start of November, including private workouts reportedly for the Nationals and Yankees among others.

Tigers re-sign Ramon Santiago to two-year deal

Ramon Santiago tested the market for a long-term deal and a potential starting role, but in the end, he always had an interest in returning to Detroit. So did the Tigers, though not quite in the everyday role he might have wanted. There was enough in common for a deal, and that got done on Wednesday with a new two-year contract.

This doesn’t end the Tigers’ search for infield help. Both manager Jim Leyland and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski conditioned their statements with the possbility of more moves to come. Right now, though, it looks like Santiago would get at least a timeshare at second base, as well as starts backing up Jhonny Peralta at shortstop.

“Santiago and Ryan Raburn will be playing second base as the club stands today,” Leyland said. “He will probably [also] get time at short.”

Dombrowski’s answer was much the same.

“We are set to open with Santiago and Raburn,” Dombrowski said. “However, we will see what happens.”

Click here to check out the full story on Santiago posted on the site.

Dmitri Young released by Venezuelan club

Not really Tigers news, I know, but given that Tigers fans were among the first to hear this past summer about Dmitri Young’s comeback attempt, it’s still something that had been followed. Young’s comeback attempt appears to be done after his Venezuelan team reportedly released him earlier this week.

Ignacio Serrano of El Nacional had the news on his site, Craig Calcaterra of picked up the story.

Young was batting .167 (11-for-66) through 20 games with no homers, three doubles and three RBIs, according to the Venezuelan League’s site.

Young made the move to play in Venezuela as a way to prove he still had something left for Major League clubs to take a chance on him and get into a big league camp. He hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2008 and just turned 38 years old this fall, but Young said over the summer that he was in his best shape in years, maybe the best shape of his life, having lost 50 pounds by his estimation and gotten his diabetes under control.

Not sure what Young’s next move will be. He has had an interest towards a broadcasting career whenever he really is done playing, so that could be on the horizon. Hopefully he can stay involved in baseball in some capacity.