Highlights from Dombrowski at TigerFest

The return of TigerFest meant the return of Dave Dombrowski’s question-and-answer session with Tigers fans. This year, there weren’t any revelations or anything, but there were some interesting tidbits and a little insight on some of the team’s thinking heading into Spring Training. Here’s the short version:

  • As he did in West Michigan, Dombrowski called Bruce Rondon “the leading candidate” for the closer job, indicating that there’s a competition to some extent for the job. He did not get into the other options, though he stated they have a wealth of experienced relievers who can do the job. As manager Jim Leyland said later, they have a lot of guys who can close, but Rondon’s probably the one guy who could close full-time.
  • Dombrowski repeated another tidbit he noted earlier in the week, that the Venezuelan baseball federation is interested in having Rondon join the national team for the World Baseball Classic. That seems to be a new development Dombrowski said later Saturday that no official invite had been extended for Rondon or for Omar Infante, who supposedly was being added to the Team Venezuela roster a week ago.
  • A fan asked Dombrowski whether they were considering free-agent closer Brian Wilson, now the top closer option on the market after Rafael Soriano signed. Dombrowski didn’t want to get into details, but said that one problem is that Wilson wants to be assured he’s the closer wherever he signs. “We’re really not in that position to be able to make him that promise right now,” Dombrowski said. If they can’t offer him that right now, it’s hard to imagine that changing unless Rondon outright struggles in Spring Training.
  • Again, Dombrowski didn’t want to get into specifics when asked about a possible contract extension for Justin Verlander. “Anytime we have contract negotiations, we do those behind the scenes,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll see what happens, but we hope he’s here for a long time.”
  • Like others around baseball have said, Dombrowski doesn’t expect any changes to replay in Major League Baseball for the upcoming season. Eventually, he expects change to happen towards more use of replay. “We’re moving in that direction,” Dombrowski said. “Where that takes us, I’m not sure.”
  • For the first time I can remember, Dombrowski went into some detail on the organization’s view on players participating in the World Baseball Classic. “The growth of the game is intentional in many ways. I have no problem if a player decides that they want to leave if they’re in proper condition. Personally, you’d rather have them stay with your club, but I never try to talk anybody out of it, because I understand the importance. But from a club perspective, you always like to have your players with you if you can. But we’ve done pretty well in the years we’ve had it in the past.”


Injuries happen in any place. Granderson was injured in the last game of ST when he was hit by pitch. Lou ended injured while break dancing. There was a CF for the Tigers that ended injured while riding his motorcycle.
The pitchers are the main worry, they are unable to keep their rhythm due to the sparse schedule of the WBC. It was created to compete with the soccer World Cup and wrongly has the same kind of schedule. Playing it in only one country and in two weeks ,like the Caribbean Series is played in one week or in ten days like the Baseball World Cup sponsored by the Baseball Federation,would be better

Right you are on the injury issue. A guy who played 3B for us in 2012 took a shot to the eye last spring, which could have turned out horribly.

Jeff Baker signed by the Rangers

Will be interesting to see how Tigers would respond if Rondon gets an official offer to play in WBC. Suspect Dombrowski will do diplomatically what he can to discourage that offer from ever occurring. He’s probably the guy they least want to miss any camp time.
Leyland talks about learning all he can about Rondon this spring, but how much will the language barrier prevent him from doing that? even with interpreters, might have to rely more on non-verbal indicators.

Leyland managed in Venezuela. 1980-81 season. He replaced Gates Brown before been replaced by Chico Carrasquel:From and interview in october 2011
“Estuve ahí el primer día, tratando de aprender estas frases venezolanas, primera base, segunda base, con toda esta m@#$@$# pasando…fue buenísimo”
“I was there the first day , trying to learn than venezuelan saying, first base, second base , with all this s… happening it was good”
“Cuando era mucho más joven, realmente no entendía lo difícil que era para los peloteros venezolanos y dominicanos venir para acá y acostumbrarse a todo, Siendo de aquí, nunca pensé en lo difícil que era para ellos.”
“When I was far more younger, I really did not understand how hard was for venezuelans and dominicans players to come here and get accustomed to it. Being from here , i never though how hard was for them”

My grandma came over on the boat from Yugoslavia so I grew up hearing her and my mom and dad all speaking something other than English. It never bothers me to hear families out in public speaking their native language, but some people are so intolerant. They forget their ancestors might have come from somewhere other than England hundreds of years ago and have never heard any of their relatives speak anything other than English.

The point I was trying to make: Leyland knows how to deal with the language barriers.

And odd fact, there were less venezuelan in that team than in the current Tigers

Leyland has commented on a few players who he believes are injury risks if he overuses them. I wonder if he concludes that based on how often he sees the player working with the athletic trainer before/after games…or if he’s picking up something from their on-field actions.

Woody… Some non-verbal indicators such as a 100mph heater and a plus secondary pitch, coupled with command and location will translate well in any language. If Rondon speaks in those terms, everything should work out.

ha ha. that is so true…the performance does speak for itself. Leyland seems to be interested in interpreting players’ nonverbals…he referred to Raburn as having a “deer in the headlights” look last season.

Kathy… I can relate to your perspective. I am a second generation American. Probably many of our posters are in the same boat ( no pun intended).

My grandma and I were very close and I spent alot of time with her as a child right up til the end of her life. She told me about the trip (in the bottom of the boat) and I have her leather (whatever they put their ticket or boarding pass in) pouch with the ship’s name embossed on it. I also found her name onl the ship’s log while doing research. She had $10 and was a housemaid.

Go Tigers!!!!!!!!!!1

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