Dave Dombrowski Press Conference Recap
As most of you know, yesterday the President, General Manager, and CEO of the Detroit Tigers, Dave Dombrowski held a press conference describing some of the moves and changes that the Tigers will make in the offseason. The first order of business was to officially announce that Jim Leyland will return for another year to manage the Tigers, along with the rest of his coaching staff. The only difference in the staff will be there will be a some role changes with the coaches, but neither Dombrowski nor Leyland would comment further. It should be no surprise to anyone that Jim Leyland will be back as the manager. Dave Dombrowski previously stated a little over a week ago that Jim will be managing the Tigers next year if he doesn’t retire, and as you can see, Leyland obviously didn’t retire. I for one am very happy about this move. He’s been in professional baseball for fifty years, and in his seven years managing the Tigers, he’s accomplished more than almost anyone in Detroit. The only thing left for him to do now is bring a World Series win back to the organization, and this coming year will probably by his last year to do it.
The next discussion was about the teams free agent situations. Dombrowski announced that the team will not pursue designated hitter/left fielder Delmon Young or closer Jose Valverde. He said how he sees Delmon as more of a full time DH, and with a healthy Victor Martinez returning to the team next year, there is simply no room for him. In regards to Valverde he said how Jose did a fine job in three years with the Tigers, minus his playoff struggles this year, and basically they were choosing to go in a different direction next year. On a side note, I do feel bad for Papa Grande. He was extremely effective for the Tigers, he just completely broke down in the playoffs this year. It’s sad that that’s how his Tiger career has to end. Naturally, Anibal Sanchez was brought up and Dombrowski was pretty straight forward about it. He told everyone that he sat down with Sanchez and told him that he wanted him back. I wish baseball was simpler because it would be nice if that was all it took to bring back a high profile free agent. Sanchez will without a doubt be one of the most coveted pitchers on the market this year, and will most likely get a multi year deal with $9 million plus per year. With all of the money that organization already has to spend this year, Sanchez may be unattainable considering the money he may get somewhere else. Lastly, the man you’ve all been waiting for; Mr. Gerald Laird. Dombrowski didn’t shut down the idea to resigning Laird, but said how G-Money wants more playing time next year, and that will not come in Detroit with Alex Avila being anchored at catcher for the next few years. So to review: Delmon and Papa are gone for sure, we want Sanchez back but he will be very expensive, and Laird will most likely not be back.
Dombrowski did talk about some of the players that are eligible for arbitration, but didn’t really go into specific detail about every single player. There are nine players on the roster that are eligible a for arbitration this year, and most of them will be getting some significant pay raises. One of the first that was mentioned was utility man Don Kelly. I’ve always had a giant soft spot for “Diamond Don,” so I’m extremely distraught to tell you this. Kelly has been non tendered and removed from the 40 man roster. If Don is not picked up by another team, Dombrowski said he would be very interested in signing him to a minor league contract and having him come to Spring Training and compete with the team, but the chances he ever gets to see Detroit again are very slim. Right fielder Brennan Boesch was another arbitration eligible player that Dombrowski mentioned. Boesch will be tendered a contract even though he struggled this year, and I can definitely see the reasons for bringing him back. He said how Boesch has a lot of potential to be an effective power hitter, they just need to figure out a way to bring that potential to life. I can understand that because Boesch has shown many signs of being a talented big leaguer, he just has never had any consistency. Dombrowski was asked about whether or not the will tender Ryan Raburn a contract, but he didn’t have any comment to make about the matter. Raburn was removed from the 15 day disabled list yesterday, but I honestly have no idea what the Tigers have planned for him. The other arbitration eligible players that were not talked about are Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Phil Coke. All of them are expected to be tendered contracts and all of them will most likely get pay raises too.