On Tuesday, October 30th, Detroit Tigers’ General Manager Dave Dombrowski and team skipper Jim Leyland held separate press conferences to address a few questions regarding the teams immediate future. They discussed several personnel issues, player and managerial alike.
Here are some of the highlights:
Dombrowski stated the Tigers would not pursue closer Jose Valverde, thus making Valverde a free agent.
Future Tigers’ closer? Dave Dombrowski stated Bruce Rondon is a “rare talent” and that “You would not believe the number of teams that call me about Rondon.” He added, “If I had a choice of any young closer in baseball to give an opportunity to, it would be him.” Both Dombrowski and Leyland stated they would give the guy a shot.
Dombrowski says that the team may considering adding a closer late in the offseason depending on the market. It would have to be the right fit, though.
Tigers’ second baseman Omar Infante was hit by a pitch in Game 4 of the World Series and fractured his fifth metacarpal on his left hand. The injury will not require surgery. He would have missed four to six weeks with the broken hand if it had happened during the regular season.
An announcement was made that the Tigers reinstated infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn from the 15-day disabled list and left-handed pitcher Daniel Schlereth and designated hitter Victor Martinez from the 60-day disabled list.
Dombrowski stated that re- signing starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez this offseason was going to be a priority.
The Tigers exercised the option on Jhonny Peralta for $6 million.
Both Dombrowki and Leyland have stated they are unsure if outfielder Andy Dirks is an “everyday”- type of player
The Tigers will remove Don Kelly from the 40 man roster. If no one picks him up the team will invite him to Spring Training and attempt to sign him to a minor league deal.
Outfielder Quintin Berry is a guy that “should compete for a spot in Spring Training”, according to Dombrowski.
Dombrowski says the Tigers will be better next year because they’ll address the areas in which they were below average in 2012. This is in addition to experience that players will have gained.
Dombrowski also wouldn’t discuss contract extensions for starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, at this time.
Dombrowski believes Drew Smyly is a starter and not a reliever. The fifth spot in the rotation would be his to lose if Anibal Sanchez were lost in the offseason.
Dave Dombrowski brought up the fact the Tigers are 2nd or 3rd in league in sacrifice bunts… addressing concerns the Tigers don’t implement enough ‘small- ball’ as part of their gameplan.
Dombrowski said the discussion he had with manager Jim Leyland on his return took about “two minutes or less”. Leyland has been offered a contract extension and will return in 2013.
Minor leaguer Nick Castellanos will play left field in the Arizona Fall League. Dombrowski says he could go back to third base but the team would look at him more as an outfielder. Dombrowski also states that Castellanos’ bat could get him up to the big leagues “pretty quickly”.
Regarding questions regarding Jim Leyland, Dave Dombrowski said one of his sisters has two kids in Little League, who now gives him advice all the time. “The game is meant to be second-guessed”, Dombrowski said.
More on Jim Leyland from Dave Dombrowski:
“For the people that don’t like Jim Leyland… if they knew how much work he puts in, they’d love him.”
“The day that Jim Leyland is no longer the manager of the Tigers … the next day those same people will be second guessing the new manger.
“If you sit down and talk baseball with Jim Leyland, you’ll be floored how much this guy knows. We’re blessed”
During Jim Leyland’s presser, Leyland stated the various coaches had been informed of some of their changes in responsibilities. But, they did not want to announce it at this time.
He said, “Our nucleus is fine, but sometimes you need to tweak it a bit and get that right guy with the right heartbeat.”