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 The latest from DD

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PostSubject: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:43 am

GM DAVE DOMBROWSKI SPEAKS
Dombrowski vows to fix pitching, get closer; Renteria likely done as a Tiger
BY JOHN LOWE FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER September 30, 2008

Next year's Tigers probably won't include shortstop Edgar Renteria or record-setting relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez. But the Tigers intend to look outside the organization for a successor to Todd Jones as the ninth-inning closer.

Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said that -- and more -- in a wide-ranging, season-ending session with Tigers beat writers before Monday's season-ending makeup game in Chicago.

Before he took questions and addressed issues, Dombrowski -- calling himself "my own harshest critic" -- summed up his performance in assembling the club.

"It's been a disappointing year for all of us," he said. "It's been a bad year. It's been a bad year for me.

"As president and general manager, I don't want to say that (bad year) about the business end of it. We set attendance records. They (the business side) have done a fantastic job.

"As general manager... there are a lot of things that I anticipated with this ballclub that I missed on, that I thought would be much better. I thought we had a club that would compete to win a championship, and it's apparent we were significantly off on that, which is my responsibility.

"I'm embarrassed that you have a very large payroll and you don't do well.

"Now what we need to do is go out and try to fix it. We have already started to do it. I think we have the nucleus to have a good club for next year, but we've got our work ahead of us."

Dombrowski answered questions for the next 45 minutes.

On the biggest thing the Tigers lack that they need for next season:

"We need to improve our pitching," Dombrowski said. "For sure, we have to improve our bullpen. And we have to improve our defense.

"At shortstop, Edgar didn't have a good year at shortstop. He has done much better from an offensive perspective.

"We have advised him that we are not going to pick up his option ($12 million) for next year. We haven't closed the door (on signing him at a lower price as a free agent). But we're going to explore options. We need to get better defensively at shortstop.

"I thought we would overcome our defensive shortcomings and some of our pitching shortcomings with more offense But I thought we'd score more runs."

The Tigers would have to pay Renteria $3 million to buy out his contract.

On signing free agents this off-season:

"At this point, I would be surprised if we're real big participants in free agency. We have a solid core of players. If you look at our lineup, the first six guys are stars. They're stars: Granderson, Polanco, Cabrera, Ordoez, Guillen -- when he's healthy -- and Sheffield, who I think can bounce back and have a better year next year. I think we underestimated his shoulder being hurt and how it affected him early in the season. There is no question he is swinging the bat better.

"So we need guys that can fit in and contribute and maybe do the little things a little bit."

Who will take the catcher's job?

"It might be Dusty Ryan," Dombrowski said. "We've got to break some young guys in. ... You don't have to put All-Stars at every position." He also said the Tigers could platoon at catcher, short or both.

On Dontrelle Willis:

"Of course, we didn't predict this. I don't know how anybody could predict this situation. And I can't blame anybody. I don't really know what happened there.

"I know he scuffled a little bit more last year. ... He still pitched 200 innings (last season). We thought if he pitched liked that he'd be a fifth starter for us with a club that scored a lot of runs and he'd merit the dollars he received.

"I still hope he'll bounce back and be a solid big-league pitcher. He still has the arm to do it. He needs to throw the ball over the plate."

Joel Zumaya, whose season began late after shoulder surgery and ended early because of more trouble with the shoulder:

"Right now, everybody tells me Zumaya is going to be healthy (for '09). But I can't count on him for a significant role at this point. But if he does come back and is healthy, he makes it (the bullpen) better."

How much of a candidate for the closer's role is Fernando Rodney?

"He is our leading candidate if we open with the team we have right now. But I'm looking to hopefully find someone else that can do that role for us. Is he capable? Yes, he can do it at times. But he has to throw more strikes on a consistent basis."

On spending this off-season:

"We're going to have to make some decisions where we're going to put dollars. You're going to have to juggle. We've spent a lot of dollars already for next year. We're going to have a very high payroll."

A few moments later, he alluded to Francisco Rodriguez, the pending free agent who this season for the Angels recorded 62 saves, the all-time big-league record.

"I don't think we're going to be involved in K-Rod," Dombrowski said. "Those things will outstrip us at this point."

On the Tigers' comparative lack of a left-handed power in the middle of the lineup and speed:

"Carlos Guillen (switch-hitter) is a good left-handed hitter. He just didn't have a good year. Granderson is a left-handed hitter. Ideally, you'd like to get another one in there. ... For the first time (since I've been here), a lot of our younger players at the minor league level that are getting close to breaking in are left-handed hitters: Matt Joyce, Jeff Larish, Clete Thomas and Michael Hollimon, who's a switch-hitter. They're also young, and they also run a little better. They're not base stealers, but they're a little more athletic. ...

"Team speed -- we're not a real speedy team. But a lot of American League clubs are not speedy teams. We become more athletic with Inge at third and Guillen in left. Neither is a base stealer, but they can score from first on a double."

Contact JOHN LOWE at 313-223-4053 or jlowe@freepress.com.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:06 am

Next year's Tigers probably won't include shortstop Edgar Renteria or record-setting relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez.

Dang, the first time I read that I thought it said Fernando Rodney and got excited.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:23 am

You and me both!
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:30 am

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Dombrowski: 'Now we need to fix it'
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

CHICAGO -- In step with his team's wounded win-loss record, the irony was cruel Monday.

Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers president and general manager, was supposed to have been talking with media members from the dugout of a postseason playoff site, probably Detroit, discussing how a powerful Tigers team had been constructed in advance of the 2008 season.

Dombrowski instead sat in Detroit's dugout at U.S. Cellular Field. And he was not talking about how a playoff team had been constructed, but, rather, how this season's Tigers had failed.

"I'm embarrassed," Dombrowski said before the Tigers-White Sox game, a makeup from an earlier rainout that needed to be played because of the tight AL Central race. "I've had a bad year. There were a lot of things anticipated that I missed on.

"We had a bad year as a team," Dombrowski said of a team that finished last, a game behind the Royals. "Now we need to fix it."

During a 45-minute discussion, Dombrowski confirmed that pitching and defense will be his top offseason priorities, with particular emphasis on shortstop and on finding a bullpen closer.

As expected, the Tigers will not pick up shortstop Edgar Renteria's $11 million option for 2009. They will pay a $3 million buyout, and Dombrowski said the Tigers had not "closed the door" on signing Renteria to a lesser contract.

Dombrowski said the decision to trade two premier prospects to the Braves for Renteria was carefully considered but never came close to panning out.

"We knew we gave up a lot," Dombrowski said of sending pitcher Jair Jurrjens and minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Braves last offseason. "But we thought (Renteria) would make a difference. He did not. It didn't work out."

Backup infielder Ramon Santiago could find himself in the mix to replace Renteria, Dombrowski said, but Santiago's lack of size has long convinced the Tigers he's likely a part-time player.

As for who might be Todd Jones' successor as closer, Dombrowski said: "I don't have an answer for that."

"We can't count on (Joel) Zumaya to be it, although he could be it," Dombrowski said of the 23-year-old right-hander who has had shoulder problems for the past 11 months.

Fernando Rodney is "our leading candidate if we were to open the season now," Dombrowski said, "but we're hoping to find someone else. He needs to throw more strikes. Does he have the stuff to do it? No question."

Dombrowski said he was uncertain if trades or free agency would patch any of the holes. The Tigers' payroll, which was $139 million and the second-largest in all of baseball next to the Yankees this year, will be a factor.

"I'd be surprised if we were a real big participant in free agency," Dombrowski said, adding: "Our first six guys (in the batting order) are stars. We need guys who can fit in. We don't need an All-Star at every position."

Among other issues discussed Monday were:

* Dontrelle Willis, the left-hander who had such traumatic control problems he was sent to the minors for three months. Dombrowski said the Tigers "scouted him very thoroughly in September (2007)" ahead of his trade to Detroit. The front office believed Willis would be a solid No. 5 starter who could pitch 200 innings and who would benefit from Detroit's supposedly explosive offense.

"It's a decision that hasn't worked out -- yet," said Dombrowski, who believes Willis, 26, will re-emerge in 2009.

* Finding a catcher now that Brandon Inge has been installed as Detroit's everyday third baseman in 2009. Dombrowski said rookie Dusty Ryan might be the Tigers' starter next season, although the team will be on the hunt for an established catcher to at least offer backup help.

Ryan is one of three young Tigers players who will play in a winter league. Jeff Larish will play in the Arizona Fall League and Matt Joyce will play in the Mexican League. Ryan will play either in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.

* Young pitching. This year's pitching-heavy draft crop is a long shot to be any immediate help next season, but at least a half-dozen young arms are moving rapidly up the chain. Given the quantity of college pitchers the Tigers drafted this past summer, they could surprise on the plus side.

"Tremendous arms," Dombrowski said, explaining that a scout outside Detroit's organization said the best two young pitchers he had seen in 2008 were Tigers' picks: first-rounder Ryan Perry and second-rounder Cody Satterwhite.

* Detroit's vaunted 2008 offense, which at the start of the season was a portrait of power and prowess, but was instead shut out 13 times and only rarely lived up to its billing.

"I thought we'd be a much more explosive club," Dombrowski said. "I thought we'd overcome our defensive shortcomings and some of our pitching shortcomings with offense."

The failure to out-hit its weaknesses was evident, Dombrowski said, in Renteria's challenges at shortstop. It was known that his range had receded but not to the extent the Tigers saw this year.

"I thought he'd be better," Dombrowski said.

* Team defense. Dombrowski believes moving Inge from catcher to third base, and Carlos Guillen to left field, will dramatically improve a Tigers defense that helped sabotage Detroit's pitching this season.

Dombrowski said Inge had been considered insurance against Renteria's range limitations when Renteria was acquired in October. But six weeks later, when the Tigers found themselves with a chance to trade for Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers believed they had no choice but to play Cabrera at his natural position, third base.

Now that Cabrera has moved to first and has shown steady progress there, Dombrowski believes the latest moves will shore up the left side of the infield as well as left field.

Each player's offense, however, must pick up from this year's levels, Dombrowski said.

"Carlos Guillen has to hit more than 10 home runs and knock in more than 54," Dombrowski said of a key player whose season ended weeks ago because of back problems.

Asked if Inge ever would hit closer to his 2006 totals, when he belted 27 home runs, Dombrowski said, "I hope so. As good as Brandon plays (third base), it's tough to play any spot and hit .200."

* Dombrowski emphasized that a high-profile Tigers position prospect was a main reason why the Tigers were looking for short-term help at shortstop.

"I believe Cale Iorg is going to be an All-Star," Dombrowski said of Detroit's sixth-round draft pick in 2007, who played this year at Class A Lakeland.

* Dombrowski said the decision to fire pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Jeff Jones was painful, given the personal regard Dombrowski and the Tigers held for both men.

"Without getting into any blow-by-blow," said Dombrowski, "in the final analysis we believed it was time to have another voice talk to our pitchers."

Dombrowski had been riding high as the Tigers front-office leader heading into 2008. After helping craft Detroit's surprise 2006 World Series team, the club was a national favorite to appear in another World Series this year.

But the team started 0-7 and the tone had been set for a season of disappointment and disillusionment in Detroit.

"Most years, when we go into spring training, I have a good feel for where we'll finish," Dombrowski said.

"I'm so far off on this," he said, as he shook his head, his voice trailing off.

You can reach Lynn Henning at lynn.henning@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:29 pm

Tigers GM Dombrowski says trading Jurrjens for Renteria was a mistake
FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES September 30, 2008

The Tigers spent $138 million to finish last this season.

It is a situation that team president Dave Dombrowski will be trying to fix the next six months.

Dombrowski met with the media at Comerica Park today, less than 24 hours after the Tigers finished their season with an 8-2 loss to the White Sox. Detroit, sporting the second-highest payroll in baseball, ended the year with a 74-88 record, about 25 games worse than most fans were expecting.

Its disappointing, Dombrowski said. We all thought we would have a much better year. There are a lot of things that I thought would work for this club that didnt work.

One mistake that Dombrowski acknowledged was trading pitching prospect Jair Jurrjens to Atlanta for shortstop Edgar Renteria. While the Tigers were trying desperately to find starting pitching, Jurrjens went 13-10 for the Braves with a 3.68 ERA.

At the same time, Renteria lost 62 points off his batting average and turned into a defensive liability, leading to the Tigers buying out his contract at the end of the year.

We thought at the time that Renteria would be a difference maker for us at shortstop the player that could put us over the hump, Dombrowski said. "Theres no question that was a miscalculation. I wish I had Jurrjens back, but we knew we were giving up a good player.

The Tigers also traded several prospects to Florida for another player that flopped Dontrelle Willis but Dombrowski didnt have second thoughts about that deal because it also netted them Cabrera, who finished with 37 homers and 127 RBIs.

I would still give up the players we did to get Miguel Cabrera, he said. I think Andrew Miller will be a very good pitcher in the future, and (Cameron) Maybin is going to be good as well, but were happy to have Miguel.

Willis, though, remains a question mark going into 2009 instead of what the Tigers expected him to be a fixture atop their rotation alongside Justin Verlander. Willis finished the season with a 0-2 record and a 9.38 ERA, thanks in great part to 35 walks in 24 innings, and spent much of the year in the minors trying to regain his command.

Im hopeful that hell bounce back, but we wont know until he does it, Dombrowski said. His arm strength is there, but he has to throw strikes. Id say Willis is a candidate to be in our rotation, but I cant say that for sure right now until we see what he does.

Verlander also had the worst year of his short career, going 11-17, while Nate Robertson finished with an ERA of 6.35 and Jeremy Bonderman missed most of the season because of a blood clot in his shoulder.

If you say that Justin Verlander has a typical Justin Verlander year, Jeremy Bonderman is healthy and Nate Robertson pitches like he is capable, all of a sudden, you are at 90 wins again, Dombrowski said. We do have problems we have to fix our bullpen, our starting pitching and our defense but doing that for next year isnt out of reach because of the core players we do have.

While Dombrowski did call the bullpen a pressing need, he doesnt expect to solve it by signing Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez.

I dont envision us being a big player in the K-Rod sweepstakes because of the way it stands with the financial situation, he said. We are not going to go out and spend with great liberty.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:53 pm

YES!

No K-Rod!


K-Rod Sucks!
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:53 pm

Rather have Rodney be Closer next year!


Go Rodney!
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:12 pm

Quote :
Tigers GM Dombrowski says trading Jurrjens for Renteria was a mistake

No Censored !


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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:00 am

Now that we have an opening for a pitching coach and a bullpen coach....and since Kenny Rogers was shut down early....Hmmmmmmmmmmm

I don't even have to say it...you all know where I'm going with this....LOL
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:34 am

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
Quote :
Tigers GM Dombrowski says trading Jurrjens for Renteria was a mistake

No Censored !


Nod
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:51 am

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Dombrowski won't identify his untouchables
Terry Foster / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- There are a few Tigers that Dave Dombrowski is not willing to trade this offseason, though the general manager on Tuesday stopped short of identifying those players.

Though not specifically referring to them as "untouchable," Dombrowski made special mention of Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander as talented, young players that a franchise could be built around.

"You always listen at this time, when you are coming off what is considered a down year," Dombrowski said about possible trades. "There will be a few players we will not trade. I won't get into specifics. You listen a lot more (to offers) when you are coming off a down year."

Granderson, the Tigers' center fielder, hit .280 this year with 22 home runs, 26 doubles and 13 triples.

Cabrera hit .292 and led the team with 37 homers and 127 RBI.

Verlander was 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA. He was the only Tiger to log more than 200 innings (201).
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:47 am

Yes, Cabrera is an untouchable. For sure. Gala should be, and Miner should be, Inge should be, I like Raburn a lot. Carlos? Magglio is iffy. (sorry Lap) I think we need to keep Dolsi, and make him the full time closer, I think we need to deal both Glover and Farnsowrth. I think Seay is a critical part of our pen, we need him. I think we should keep Clay also, he will be really good with time.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:01 am

Was Farnsworth even around these last few games?
I'm waiting for the shoe to drop on dear Magglio.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:13 am

I dont think they will. Hes our most efficient hitter. We cant just trade a near .320 hitter.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:46 am

Both Leyland and DD have indicated they want to fashion the team around their top 6 guys. :curtis: :placido: M. Ordonez M. Cabrera C. Guillen:sheff: so hopefully Maggs is a keeper this year. After this year, Sheff will be gone.


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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:50 am

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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:18 pm

I think Sheff should be gone no matter what.
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:05 pm

mrsrabelo wrote:
Next year's Tigers probably won't include shortstop Edgar Renteria or record-setting relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez.

Dang, the first time I read that I thought it said Fernando Rodney and got excited.

AMEN!!
The day 'Nando GOES is the day this team improves greatly!!
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:07 pm

Farnsworth is a FREE agent and most certainly will NOT be brought back.....
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:23 pm

tigersaint wrote:
Farnsworth is a FREE agent and most certainly will NOT be brought back.....


Hope so cross fingers
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:22 pm

I would rather have Grilli back.... affraid
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PostSubject: Re: The latest from DD   Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:18 pm

10/31/08 5:59 PM ET
Tigers have many questions to tackle
GM Dombrowski says team will explore creative solutions

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Let the Tigers' offseason begin, whatever it brings. And at this point, it's tough for the team to predict that.

The challenge to rebound from this year's disappointing season begins here. With the World Series having concluded and eligible free agents beginning to file, the Hot Stove season is under way. With several needs to fill and so much competition looking for the same improvements, the Tigers face what could be one of the more intriguing situations in baseball this winter.

Can team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski fill openings at shortstop, catcher and pitching without taking away from his core group of talent? Will Detroit, an offseason mover and shaker in past years, dive into the free-agent market for help, or can the Tigers swing a major trade for the third straight year?

At this point, Dombrowski cautioned, it's too early to tell.

A year ago, the Tigers had already made a major move, dealing for Edgar Renteria less than 24 hours after the end of the World Series. The previous winter, Detroit's major deal of the offseason came two weeks after the end of the World Series with the trade for Gary Sheffield. This year's market shapes up slower for just about everyone involved, including Detroit.

"Our situation's no different than when we ended the season," Dombrowski said Friday. "We're really just starting the process. We're going to pursue a lot of different things. We're going to explore."

Dombrowski laid out the landscape for the Tigers last month. He said at that point that he would be "surprised" if the Tigers were big participants in free agency, but he also said they had the flexibility to make changes and complement their key parts.

"We have flexibility to do some things," Dombrowski said at the time. "I don't have flexibility to do tons of things, but I have flexibility to do some things. Sometimes you trade young players for young players. ... We've got plenty of finances that are attributed to our ballclub. Now we just have to make them work better for us."

He also said at that point that he wasn't looking to trade away core players, though the Tigers would listen to what other teams have to say. As the rumor mill begins to percolate on whether the Tigers could trade All-Star outfielder Magglio Ordonez if it helps them address their other needs, the outlook remains the same. Team officials are not shopping their big names, but they're not ruling out listening to anything, either.

"I think really it comes down to we're not looking to trade our core players," Dombrowski said, "but you also have to be open to different ideas. It's also one where we have a pretty good core group of players. It's one where you sit down and you listen and you talk about a lot of different things."

Team officials had plenty of internal discussions this week in the second round of organizational meetings. They discussed their farm system earlier this month at the team's Spring Training home in Lakeland, Fla., where they also filled their vacancy for a pitching coach. This week's meetings were more about the big leagues, looking both at the Tigers' needs and those of other clubs.

"As always, Dave was very organized. The scouts were very organized," manager Jim Leyland said Thursday. "You re-identify your needs, then you talk about how you're going to attack those needs. This was more of a sparring round to make sure we were aware of our needs to the fullest.

"It was probably a preview to the Winter Meetings, so that when we went there, we were fully prepared. This was making sure all our ducks are in a row for the Winter Meetings."

This year's Winter Meetings take place Dec. 8-11 in Las Vegas. The prelude comes next week, when teams will gather in California for the GM Meetings.

By the time the Winter Meetings begin, the Tigers should know their options better. Left-hander Kenny Rogers hasn't yet announced whether he wants to pitch next season at age 44. Free agent right-hander Freddy Garcia, who made three September starts for Detroit in his comeback from shoulder surgery, is on track to begin winter ball in his native Venezuela in the next week or two. The market for Renteria, now a free agent after Detroit declined his $12 million option for next year, should be better defined, as should the Tigers' options at short.

The Tigers are looking to fill their shortstop opening short-term until one of their prospects is ready. That includes Danny Worth, who reached Triple-A Toledo last year in his first full pro season, or Cale Iorg, who impressed club officials at Class A Lakeland. As a Type-A free agent, Renteria could net the Tigers two extra picks in next summer's First-Year Player Draft if they offer him arbitration and another team signs him. The flip side, however, is that Renteria could accept arbitration if offered and get a one-year contract out of it.

Defense will be a major consideration at short, but it'll be the same at catcher, too, where young Dusty Ryan is the lone incumbent off of his September stint. Improving defense, Dombrowski said, will help a pitching staff that was saddled with 71 unearned runs last year -- not the most in the Majors, but not far off.

Whether the Tigers can go defense-first at both positions and maintain balance in their lineup is one question they face.

"We're looking to improve our defense," Dombrowski said, "so any consideration will have defensive discussions.
They're all intertwined [positionally], but I think it's also one where you look at them independently, too. You look at the best players you can."

These are a few of the questions the Tigers face. The answers will take shape over the next several weeks.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.
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