Dombrowski on bullpen: We really did make a good run at Miller
Dave Dombrowski spent a good portion of his hour-long session Tuesday talking about the Tigers bullpen, from its failure in the AL Division Series to its struggles during the season to its individual members. One guy who wasn’t part of it, of course, was Andrew Miller, a rumored deal that came close to happening, never did and came back to haunt them in the Division Series.
The prevailing thought for a long while was that the Tigers pulled out of talks with the Red Sox involving Miller once they closed in on a deal with the Rays for David Price. A report from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman earlier this month countered that, saying the Tigers had met Boston’s asking price but were outbid at the last minute by Baltimore.
Dombrowski’s characterization of the talks was somewhere in between, but trended towards the latter.
“We really did make a good run at him,” Dombrowski said. “It was a situation where we thought they were going to call us back, and they didn’t call us back, and they just decided to go in another direction.”
That direction was to Baltimore, where the Orioles offered up a young left-handed pitcher named Eduardo Rodriguez, rated in the 60s on each of the major top 100 prospect lists going into the season. Whatever the Tigers were offering has never gotten out.
That led to another would-be deal Dombrowski brought up on his own.
“I wouldn’t tell you the player, but last year, there was a reliever that we almost acquired who ended up being a very good reliever,” Dombrowski said. “I thought we were getting him. It never got out like this. We thought we made a tremendous offer. We thought we offered more than the other organization, but they went with the other player. Well I can tell you that organization wishes they didn’t go in that direction. They wish they taken our player.”
Dombrowski did not give any hints who that player was. It might have been Francisco Rodriguez, who had been rumored to have drawn Tigers interest at various points in July. The Brewers had him, then dealt him on July 23 to the Orioles for an infielder named Nick Delmonico. He had shown some power in the O’s farm system putting up back-to-back double figures in home runs. He hit just four homers in 37 games with Milwaukee’s Class A Florida State League team.
Rodriguez ended up returning to MIlwaukee this year and saved 44 games for the Brewers. The Tigers traded for Jose Veras shortly after the Brewers traded Rodriguez, then let him go at season’s end by not picking up his option.
“Sometimes you don’t have total control of those things,” Dombrowski said. “Sometimes organizations, it’s just not in your control. They decide what direction they’re going to go, and sometimes they don’t always choose the right direction.”