Dave Dombrowski met with the press today to discuss his ball club, Jim Leyland and 2013. Some things of note were that he claims to have offered Leyland a contract well before the end of the season but Leyland wanted to wait until after the season to sign it.
Going into 2013 there are a few question marks and Dombrowski addressed them in no particular order and my thoughts included below:
- Delmon Young, Jose Valverde and Gerald Laird will not be back. Young and Valverde are not a surprise, Laird is a bit of a surprise but DD believes he wants more playing time and it is out there for him, just somewhere else.
- With Valverde leaving, that opens up the closer roll and it can be filled a number of ways, by committee, which Dombrowski mentioned, by Benoit or Coke or even Bruce Rondon, the Tigers best minor league relief pitcher. I’d be surprised to see Rondon closing on day 1, but I expect him in the bull pen. The pen should look like this: Benoit, Coke, Rondon, Al Albuquerque, Brayan Villareal, Octavio Dotel and an additional lefty, either Daniel Schlereth, Darrin Downs, Adam Wilk, Drew Smyly (if not in the rotaion) or Dewane Below.
- Brennan Boesch will be tendered a contract, which was a surprise to some, but I felt that was a no-brainer as Boesch has options left so he can be assigned to Toledo, since they need outfielders too.
- Dombrowski was asked about Andy Dirks being an everyday player and he seemed open minded about it but unsure if he’ll be able to handle it. I think it is worth a try, start Dirks in LF everyday at the beginning of the year and if he struggles then look to make a move, but he proved he deserves a chance.
- With Peralta’s option picked up, it was obvious that Dombrowski didn’t feel a better option at SS was immediately clear. The door is left open to upgrade over Peralta and move him to another team. Stephen Drew was a rumored target at the trade deadline and he is now a free agent who has better range than Peralta but his bat is about as uncertain. Another option could be for the troubled Yunel Escobar from Toronto, who just traded for Mike Aviles to take over at SS. Escobar has been a rumored awful teammate and has had some poor publicity lately but could be a solid defender if put in the right situation and keeps his head down.
- Also brought up was the Anibal Sanchez contract, the Tigers will try to resign him but if they do not, Dombrowski does not expect to fill that last starter spot outside the organization, which sounds like if Sanchez is not back then Smyly will be given another chance to start the year in the rotation.
- Dombrowski expects a quiet offseason. I assume he will only look to fill the RF spot, back up catcher and re sign Sanchez. Which will be fine with most people, since Martinez coming back to the DH spot is like adding another big bat but with out having to part with another player.
That is most of the major talking points and the roster questions, not a whole lot of surprises except for the Laird piece and the “Young wasn’t coming back b/c he’s a DH and we don’t need one” (paraphrased) statement.
Look for a few moves, I’d like to see Jacoby Ellsbury given a shot in RF or Angel Pagan (if the Giants don’t extend him) as a speedy RF that can lead off and back up in CF will be an asset in case Jackson gets hurt at any point in 2013.
Also, I saw that Andre Ethier is available in a trade with the Dodgers and twitter was a buzz about the Tigers looking to get him. No. It shouldn’t and won’t happen. Ethier is owed $86 million dollars for the next 5 years and had an OPS just over .800 last year and is going to be 32 at the start of the year. If they want to pay a RF that money, they can pay some one else half that for the same production.
The Tigers are Vegas’ odds on favorite to win the World Series in 2013, so expectations should be sky high yet again.