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 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS

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PostSubject: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:03 pm

12/04/08 2:48 PM EST
Tigers gear up for Winter Meetings
Club heads to Vegas with hopes of acquiring a shortstop

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

CLUB NEEDS:

SHORTSTOP
-- The Tigers decided to look for a defensive upgrade at short after Edgar Renteria showed a surprising drop in range in his lone season in Detroit. With the progress that prospect Cale Iorg showed in his first full season of pro ball, however, the Tigers have decided to look for a short-term fix for one or two seasons rather than a longer-term option, leaving the spot open for Iorg or fellow prospect Danny Worth as soon as 2010. They've had more trade talks on this spot than others, including reported discussions with the Pirates for Jack Wilson, which might make more sense than trying to sign a mid-level free agent to a short-term deal. If they do go the free-agency route, they could sign someone to platoon with Ramon Santiago if it frees up payroll to put elsewhere.

CATCHER -- Again, the Tigers aren't looking for a long-term option unless it's a younger player. And unless Detroit can somehow put together the prospects for a trade with Texas for one of the Rangers' many catchers, possibly Gerald Laird, it'll have a tough time finding a longer-term backstop. That likely leaves the Tigers looking for a veteran to mentor and possibly platoon with Detroit's own catching prospect, Dusty Ryan.

CLOSER -- The inconsistencies of Fernando Rodney showed the kind of task the Tigers face in replacing the recently retired Todd Jones, who had his share of topsy-turvy performances but proved effective on the whole. Again, the Tigers feel like they have help coming in their farm system, but not quite yet. That places Detroit on the hunt for short-term help, most likely through free agency. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski has said they don't plan to be in play for top free agents such as Francisco Rodriguez, but they've looked at the next group, including Trevor Hoffman, David Weathers and Brandon Lyon. Unlike shortstop and catcher, the market has plenty of closers available whether through free agency or trade.

LEFT-HANDED RELIEVER -- This area isn't as pressing as the others; Detroit has left-handed relievers on the roster with Bobby Seay, Clay Rapada and Macay McBride. Their struggles this year, however, helped push the Tigers to at least explore the market for the proven southpaw they've been unable to add in years past. They've been aggressive in their pursuit of free agent Joe Beimel, but he also has a good amount of interest.

WHO THEY CAN OR NEED TO TRADE:

OF Marcus Thames -- He has been an off-again, on-again starter in left field for the past four seasons, but Carlos Guillen's move from third base to left leaves Thames looking at another year as a fourth outfielder unless Detroit can deal him. The club has checked the trade market for interest on him in offseasons past and hasn't gotten what it wanted, but with Thames eligible for arbitration and the Tigers relatively rich in outfield prospects, they have the motivation to at least see what they can get.

OF Magglio Ordonez -- Between the Tigers' payroll, Ordonez's age and the three huge years left on his contract, they could justify dealing him if he can land them the help they need in their many areas. However, Ordonez is the kind of run producer that most teams would have a hard time replacing, especially Detroit. Moreover, he's identifiable enough in Detroit that the Tigers could alienate fans by trading him. The Tigers would have to be very impressed from an offer to swing a deal.

OF Matt Joyce -- He's the kind of left-handed power hitter the Tigers could use, but so could other teams who could help fill Detroit's other needs. The Tigers have enough outfield depth to get along without him, but his lefty power bat would be tougher to replace.

IF Jeff Larish -- Like Joyce, Larish is a lefty power bat, and he made an impression with his offense in the Arizona Fall League while showing his ability to play third base as well as first. With Miguel Cabrera set at first for several years and third base likely no more than a fill-in spot for Larish, he's expendable from a positional standpoint, but the Tigers could really use his punch off the bench.

OF Brent Clevlen -- He's one of the best athletes in the organization, with a gifted arm to fire from the outfield to the plate, but the Tigers have spent the last few years trying to shore up his bat. He's now out of Minor League options, but at age 25, he still has a chance to emerge. He has drawn some interest from teams over the past couple years.

LHPs Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson -- The Tigers could use starting pitching depth, but with both Willis and Robertson under contract for two more years at lucrative salaries, they might also have use for swapping one of those contracts and putting a similar contract toward one of their voids, possibly Boston shortstop Julio Lugo. It isn't their preferred route for offseason shopping, but it's a fallback option.

TOP PROSPECTS:

RHP Rick Porcello -- He's the envy of just about every other big league organization, a soon-to-be 20-year-old with a polished arm well beyond his age, but he's untouchable as far as the Tigers are concerned.

SS Cale Iorg -- He's likely the future of the organization at shortstop, so he's just about untouchable unless the Tigers somehow pulled off a deal for a long-term fix at short.

OF Wilkin Ramirez
-- Like Clevlen, Ramirez is a gifted athlete whose offense has been inconsistent. However, Ramirez has emerged over the last two years, including a berth in this past summer's Futures Game. Of the many Tigers outfield prospects, he's probably the least likely to be dealt.

RHP Guillermo Moscoso -- He pitched his way into the Tigers' prospect ranks with an impressive 2008 season, adding some pitching depth to help replace what they had lost in previous trades. If the Tigers must trade Minor League pitching, he could conceivably go, too.

RHP Luis Marte -- The gifted but erratic arm put up an impressive season at Double-A Erie before going to the AFL.

BIG CONTRACTS THEY MIGHT UNLOAD:


Ordonez ($18 million in '09, options for $15 million each in '10 and '11 guaranteed with 124 games or 447 plate appearances next year).

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE:

Thames, RP Rodney, RHSP Justin Verlander, RP Joel Zumaya, SS Santiago, RP Seay and RP Aquilino Lopez (possible non-tender).

PAYROLL SUMMATION:

Dombrowski expects to keep payroll steady at this year's level, which was up around $138 million to open the season but fell closer to $135 million by season's end after trading Ivan Rodriguez in July. The challenge in doing that is that the Tigers have around $102.7 million in guaranteed salary on their roster for next year before their many arbitration cases. That's why the Tigers are expected to stay away from bigger-name free agents.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:39 am

We need to keep JV And Magglio.

We coul deal Thames, but I dunno, we could better use Clevlen or Joyce as a 4th man in the OF. So I think we deal a couple prospects and Thames for a good SS and CL.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:10 am

12/05/08 8:31 PM EST
Welcome to Vegas: Let the deals begin
What happens at the Winter Meetings will form shape of '09 season

By Doug Miller / MLB.com

"Let's all go to the lobby."

Remember that old animated short playing before movies as you were just starting to dig past the buttered part of your popcorn? Well, it's a fitting mantra for baseball's annual Winter Meetings, which descend upon the neon-studded, oxygen-infused ground floor of the swanky Bellagio Hotel and Casino this weekend.

Yup, Major League Baseball has chosen Las Vegas for the much-anticipated four days of wheeling and dealing, and it's a fitting locale.

Players, agents, front-office executives and media members will scurry around every bit of lobby space not occupied by craps tables and buffet spreads to constantly trade information, rumors and all-around baseball buzz. Then they'll head up to their suites and hammer out the framework of deals over the phones.

By the time the jets leave McCarran Airport on Wednesday afternoon, some clubs will have rolled the dice on high-dollar free-agent signings or multiplayer trades, some will have stood pat with their 2008 hands while hoping for an injury-free upcoming season with improving young rosters and some will have flat-out folded, unloading players as though they were the deftest of blackjack dealers.

No matter what happens, one thing will be as certain as the availability of a $2.00 shrimp cocktail at 4 a.m. on the Strip: Baseball's 2009 season will begin to drastically take shape over the next four days, and the questions that have been boiling over that Hot Stove will begin to solidify into answers.

Here are the top five things to keep an eye on.

The CC Shuffle: Lefty horse CC Sabathia has been offered a huge contract from the New York Yankees (a reported six years, $140 million) and has let it sit for a while, probably waiting for just this moment to see where the market will or won't go. And guess what? He's not the only one.

It's safe to say that the entire market hinges on his contract, which will then roll into that of A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets and the rest of the multiple available starting pitchers, including Pedro Martinez, Kenny Rogers, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Jamie Moyer, Brad Penny, Jon Garland, Paul Byrd, Braden Looper, Josh Fogg, Jon Lieber, Livan Hernandez and Mark Hendrickson.

The Scott Boras Show: At every Winter Meetings, agent Boras shows up in the hotel lobby on the first day and is greeted by a bigger-than-ever throng of reporters, TV cameras and onlookers as he extols the virtues of his free-agent clients. This year will be no different. In fact, he might have a bigger Vegas audience than Celine Dion.

Boras represents the two best -- and priciest -- bats on the market in Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez, and as always, he's been heard asking for many years to go along with their many millions.

So with Sabathia reportedly in the sights of the Yankees, Giants and Angels, and maybe others; Teixeira most likely on the radar of the Yanks, Angels and Red Sox, at the very least; and Manny's status as up in the air as ever, Boras will have plenty to do -- and say.

And with all that on his plate -- plus a solid third baseman in Joe Crede, two accomplished veteran catchers in Jason Varitek and Pudge Rodriguez, starters Lowe and Oliver Perez, reliever Eric Gagne and outfielder Garret Anderson -- it will be no Vegas vacation for Boras.

K-Rod and the closer glut:
Francisco Rodriguez set the Major League single-season saves record last year, notching 62 for the Angels. He turned down a reported three-year, $34 million offer from the only team he's ever known, hoping for a few more years and up to $15 million a year.

But with cheaper options available in a flooded free-agent closer market (Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, Brandon Lyon and Trevor Hoffman lead the class) and a few attached names -- J.J. Putz, Huston Street, Bobby Jenks -- possibly available in trades, it figures to be an interesting and potentially disappointing week for K-Rod.

It's money that matters:
Will the nationwide recession affect the salary numbers that have exploded in the last few Winter Meetings? Could be, according to the speculation of numerous GMs.

And with the sad recent passing of Blue Jays owner Ted Rogers, the uncertainty at the helm of that franchise basically turns a would-be major Winter Meetings player -- the improving Jays were expected to battle hard to keep Burnett and possibly jump in the mix for a lot more -- into a nonfactor.

Once again, we'll look to the Sabathia deal to set the barometer, but after the ink has dried on his deal and those of Teixeira and Ramirez, it wouldn't be surprising to see much smaller numbers in step with the signs of the times.

The quiet storms: Every winter, moves are made that don't seem like big deals at the time but make a major impact on the following season. And with tons of very good pieces to Major League puzzles out there, the biggest acquisitions of these Meetings might be some of the least-publicized.

So look past those slot machines and pay attention, because infielders Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, Casey Blake, Orlando Hudson and Juan Uribe are out there, as are outfielders Milton Bradley, Raul Ibanez and Juan Rivera.

Then there's the Rule 5 Draft, which in the past has produced such stars as Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria.

And if that isn't enough, consider all the top Draft picks that Type A and Type B free-agent signings will net the teams that lose those players.

Just ask the Tampa Bay Rays how useful they'll be in the coming years.

Doug Miller is a senior writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. 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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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:45 am

Let the meetings begin!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:42 pm

Saturday, December 6, 2008
Baseball: Winter meetings
Tigers look for ways to improve on a budget
Dombrowski heading to the winter meetings seeking answers at catcher, short, bullpen.
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

A year ago, the Tigers flew to Nashville, Tenn., for what was expected to be a low-key week at baseball's winter meetings.

Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis ended up as the big names in a mammoth Tigers trade that shook all of Nashville.

This year, there are softer projections for the Tigers during next week's winter meetings at Las Vegas.

The Tigers will be making their share of moves, but those deals might happen later rather than earlier because of big-name free agents who haven't yet signed in an overall slower offseason market.

While any of those top free agents -- Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett, etc. -- could sign within the next week, the snail's pace at which negotiations have gone suggests only moderate, or downright sluggish, activity when executives meet at the Bellagio hotel.

"When people say that we'll be able to address some of our needs over the winter, I don't know whether that will be next week or before Opening Day," said Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers president and general manager.

"But I've had a lot of conversations this week with clubs. I expect that there'll be a lot of conversation (next week). I have no question it will be busy."

Busy for the Tigers means patching holes in the bullpen and at shortstop and catcher.

The Tigers have no closer following Todd Jones' retirement. The job by now would have been owned by right-hander Joel Zumaya, if Zumaya weren't still recovering from shoulder woes.

There are closers on the free-agent market -- Francisco Rodriguez, Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes, etc. -- but none is practical for a team with a heavy payroll.

The Tigers will add pitching by spring training. Their ally there could be a soft market affected by a ravaged economy.

With the price seemingly dropping in contract years and in dollars for some of the high-profile free agents, the Tigers could shoot higher than the altitude they're now considering, which would include the likes of relievers Brandon Lyon, Darren Oliver, Will Ohman and Joe Beimel.

None of the above would electrify Tigers fans. And none would be regarded as a bullpen savior by the Tigers front office.

The Tigers might make a trade that would provide help at shortstop and free up payroll to pursue a higher-caliber closer.

The scenario there likely would involve Magglio Ordonez, who would have the cachet to bring the Tigers a shortstop -- or a catcher -- and decrease payroll to permit a run at a closer on par with Wood.

The Tigers also could use Ordonez as trade bait for a power reliever. At shortstop, they could then opt for an affordable free agent such as Cesar Izturis, Nick Punto or Adam Everett.

And at catcher, it could be Gregg Zaun as free agency's answer to adding a veteran as insurance for Dusty Ryan, who hasn't yet proven he is ready to be an MLB regular.

The winter meetings begin Monday and end Thursday morning when the Rule 5 draft is held.

The Tigers could take a shot there. Players with minimum minor league experience who have not been added to a club's 40-man roster can be plucked by another club if they keep that player on their 25-man active roster for the ensuing season.

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


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:44 pm

So we still have Lynn "Let's get rid of Ordonez" Henning trying for a trade of Maggs!

Quote :
The Tigers also could use Ordonez as trade bait for a power reliever. At shortstop, they could then opt for an affordable free agent such as Cesar Izturis, Nick Punto or Adam Everett.


Last edited by GoGetEmTigers on Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:35 am

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
So we still have Lynn "Let's get rid of Ordonez" Henning trying for a trade of Maggs!

Quote :
The Tigers also
could use Ordonez as trade bait for a power reliever. At shortstop,
they could then opt for an affordable free agent such as Cesar Izturis,
Nick Punto or Adam Everett.


Henning gets on my nerves


He always bitched about the fences in left being too big before they moved them in at Comerica;


And he still thinks CF is too big at Comerica



Personally I like a big ball park


Henning is so far of BS


Keep Magglio
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:15 am

It would be hard to replace Maggs bat!


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:54 am

12/06/08 1:30 PM EST
Plenty of clients, and offers, for Boras
Agent enters Meetings representing more than 15 free agents

By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- At the upcoming Winter Meetings, agent Scott Boras will be representing more than 15 free agents. How does he juggle that workload and keep all of the customers satisfied?

"He doesn't have any problem, from what I see," said right-hander Derek Lowe, going through his second free agency with Boras. "He's been doing it for so many years, that's not something I worry about. He's had more than this. The thing about Scott is that you have a relationship with him. He understands what's important to his client."

Along with Lowe, Boras represents a host of big-name players such as Garret Anderson, Eric Gagne, Oliver Perez, Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Jason Varitek.

The conventional wisdom is that the only thing important to a Boras client is money, and he sets out to auction off each player to the highest bidder. Ramirez said as much when last seen peeling off his Dodgers uniform.

Lowe, however, offers a differing view.

"Absolutely, some players say, 'Get me the most money,' and they don't care where they go," Lowe said. "I'm a little different. With me, it's all about winning. The team with the best chance of winning, year in and year out, is where I want to go. Scott understands that. I've already had clubs contact us that are interested, but they're not ready to win. Scott knows that's my No. 1 priority, and he's looking out for my best interest. He's done exactly what I've been talking about."

Lowe said he's spoken to Boras a handful of times this offseason, but he does not expect to speak with the agent daily during the Winter Meetings. Lowe said he has an equally strong relationship with Mike Fiore, a longtime Boras associate, and between the two is "completely" satisfied with the parties' communication during the Winter Meetings, as well as the rest of the year.

Lowe also said suspicions that Boras orchestrates where a player signs, even to facilitate the signing of another player elsewhere, is a fantasy.

"This misperception that he puts you in places whether you want to be there or not, that doesn't happen," Lowe said. "At the end of the day, he'll tell you, 'Here are the offers, but the final say is yours -- you decide.' What you want from the agent is to get you the offers and give you a choice, but it's the player's choice."

Lowe said he was hoping that Boras could have extracted a multiyear contract from the Dodgers, who appeared in the postseason twice during the veteran's four-year stint in Los Angeles, but the only offer the club made him was for salary arbitration, which Lowe declined.

"Scott tried hard to make it work with the Dodgers, but it didn't work out," Lowe said. "People say I wanted to go back east or I wasn't happy. I really wanted to come back, but they didn't call. It's easy to turn down nothing."

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


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:38 am

12/05/08 10:34 AM EST
Winter Meetings are no honeymoon
Offseason activity crescendos during often grueling week

Somebody asked me the other day of all the Winter Meetings I've attended, which is the most memorable.

Tough question.

It might have been a year in the 1970s, when the Philadelphia Phillies made a blockbuster deal with the Detroit Tigers, then rescinded their offer.


"How do you unshake a handshake?" angry Tigers officials were asking the next morning.

Or 1992, when free-agent slugger Barry Bonds and his agents, who were working out a $43.7 million deal with San Francisco, turned the Louisville meetings into a circus.

Or the two long trips to Hawaii, when the sessions were held there.

Or 1978, when Pete Rose sneaked into an Orlando hotel to sign with the Phillies after free-agent negotiations had abruptly ended 10 days earlier and he walked away. I was lucky enough to break that story.

On second thought, my most memorable has to be 1981 in Hollywood, Fla.

I spent my honeymoon covering those meetings, a decision wife Patricia will never let me live down.

I don't remember what deals were made that week, but that should tell you how important baseball's December ritual is to somebody who's spent over 50 years reporting the sport.

Just ask Patricia B.

The meetings have dramatically changed since 1962, when they were held in Rochester, N.Y., but there will be just as much excitement, just as much anticipation when the sessions begin Monday in Las Vegas.

Will premier free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia accept the Yankees' reported $140 million offer? Will the Angels be able to keep All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira?

What about Manny Ramirez, Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez or Andy Pettitte?

And how much will the economic meltdown everyday people are suffering through affect baseball?

The dynamics have changed, the talked-about dollars border on insanity, but the purpose of the Winter Meetings remains the same.

John Schuerholz, one of the most successful general managers in baseball history with the Atlanta Braves, has been going to the Winter Meetings since 1967. He says there's no better forum for a GM than these sessions.

"You can set up deals, prepare for deals, lay the groundwork for deals, have long conversations in our industry beforehand, but it always seems like it isn't until we get together eye-to-eye at the Winter Meetings deals finally get done," says Schuerholz, now Braves president. "All of the tap dancing is over."

He adds: "This is always a time for the reinforcement of the celebration of the connectivity between the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues. At the Winter Meetings, we're all thrust together in a positive way."

For Schuerholz, those 1992 meetings in Louisville are probably his most memorable.

"That was when I signed Greg Maddux," he says. "That was the biggest acquisition I was ever involved with at the meetings."

Maddux, a certain Hall of Famer, won 194 of his 355 victories with the Braves (1993-2003) and three of his four National League Cy Young Awards.

Schuerholz sadly remembers that is was at the 1992 Winter Meetings when Florida Marlins president Carl Barger died suddenly. It was also after those meetings then interim Commissioner Bud Selig ordered a hiatus to the Winter Meetings because he reasoned they had gotten out of hand mostly because they were dominated by agents.

Ask Schueholz, whose Braves teams won a record 14 consecutive division titles, if the meetings are fun and there's hesitation.

"I wouldn't call it fun," he says. "It's an exhilarating time. In my later years, the meetings became more challenging with the expectations of the media. Thankfully, our game is covered in more depth than it ever has. It started to turn, though, when agents began to carve out more of the general managers' time. Less time was spent on tending to the needs of baseball because of that."

Pat Gillick, who's just retired after guiding the Phillies to the World Series championship, looks back to the 1990 Winter Meetings as the most significant during his storied career.

Gillick, then the Toronto Blue Jays GM, dealt Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to the San Diego Padres for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.

"If you look back, that was the deal that led to our two World Series championships in the 1992 and 1993," says Gillick, "I enjoy the meetings because you get an opportunity to see a lot of people you don't normally see over the years. From the standpoint of the meetings you have, it can become pretty grueling. It's a grind."

Yankees GM Brian Cashman plans to closet himself in his Bellagio suite as he attempts to make major moves to strengthen the team's pitching, al la sign Sabathia, et al.

"My memories of Winter Meetings are mostly about what other people do," says Cashman. "I remember when Alex Rodriguez signed that [10-year, $252 million] contact with the Texas Rangers, the buzz it created."

Cashman agrees he's been deeply involved at the Winter Meetings, "but as a kid growing up I remember how excited I was reading about the rumors, the trades, the possibilities of this and that.

"But as a participant, I always get disappointed. You feel like you get close to something that could really help you and then it goes up in smoke."

Murray Chass, a Hall of Fame baseball writer with The New York Times before retiring earlier this year, marvels at the number of players' names and rumors that circulate during the meetings.

"I always caution fans that most everything they hear seldom comes true," he says with a chuckle.

And sometimes a deal that appears done really isn't.

Like in 1974, in New Orleans, when Phillies GM Paul Owens traded Bob Boone, Larry Christenson and a couple of prospects to the Tigers for Bill Freehan, Jim Northrup and two Minor Leaguers.

Late into the night, Owens called Tigers GM Jim Campbell and pulled the plug on the deal. The next morning the Tigers held a press conference and asked the famous rhetorical question: "How do the Phillies unshake a handshake?" as he criticized them.


So, another Winter Meetings chapter is about to be written.

And regardless, this is certain: Covering this ritual is no honeymoon.

Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:30 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
12/05/08 8:31 PM EST
Welcome to Vegas: Let the deals begin
What happens at the Winter Meetings will form shape of '09 season

By Doug Miller / MLB.com

"Let's all go to the lobby."

Remember that old animated short playing before movies as you were just starting to dig past the buttered part of your popcorn? Well, it's a fitting mantra for baseball's annual Winter Meetings, which descend upon the neon-studded, oxygen-infused ground floor of the swanky Bellagio Hotel and Casino this weekend.

Yup, Major League Baseball has chosen Las Vegas for the much-anticipated four days of wheeling and dealing, and it's a fitting locale.

Players, agents, front-office executives and media members will scurry around every bit of lobby space not occupied by craps tables and buffet spreads to constantly trade information, rumors and all-around baseball buzz. Then they'll head up to their suites and hammer out the framework of deals over the phones.

By the time the jets leave McCarran Airport on Wednesday afternoon, some clubs will have rolled the dice on high-dollar free-agent signings or multiplayer trades, some will have stood pat with their 2008 hands while hoping for an injury-free upcoming season with improving young rosters and some will have flat-out folded, unloading players as though they were the deftest of blackjack dealers.

No matter what happens, one thing will be as certain as the availability of a $2.00 shrimp cocktail at 4 a.m. on the Strip: Baseball's 2009 season will begin to drastically take shape over the next four days, and the questions that have been boiling over that Hot Stove will begin to solidify into answers.

Here are the top five things to keep an eye on.

The CC Shuffle: Lefty horse CC Sabathia has been offered a huge contract from the New York Yankees (a reported six years, $140 million) and has let it sit for a while, probably waiting for just this moment to see where the market will or won't go. And guess what? He's not the only one.

It's safe to say that the entire market hinges on his contract, which will then roll into that of A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets and the rest of the multiple available starting pitchers, including Pedro Martinez, Kenny Rogers, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Jamie Moyer, Brad Penny, Jon Garland, Paul Byrd, Braden Looper, Josh Fogg, Jon Lieber, Livan Hernandez and Mark Hendrickson.

The Scott Boras Show: At every Winter Meetings, agent Boras shows up in the hotel lobby on the first day and is greeted by a bigger-than-ever throng of reporters, TV cameras and onlookers as he extols the virtues of his free-agent clients. This year will be no different. In fact, he might have a bigger Vegas audience than Celine Dion.

Boras represents the two best -- and priciest -- bats on the market in Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez, and as always, he's been heard asking for many years to go along with their many millions.

So with Sabathia reportedly in the sights of the Yankees, Giants and Angels, and maybe others; Teixeira most likely on the radar of the Yanks, Angels and Red Sox, at the very least; and Manny's status as up in the air as ever, Boras will have plenty to do -- and say.

And with all that on his plate -- plus a solid third baseman in Joe Crede, two accomplished veteran catchers in Jason Varitek and Pudge Rodriguez, starters Lowe and Oliver Perez, reliever Eric Gagne and outfielder Garret Anderson -- it will be no Vegas vacation for Boras.

K-Rod and the closer glut:
Francisco Rodriguez set the Major League single-season saves record last year, notching 62 for the Angels. He turned down a reported three-year, $34 million offer from the only team he's ever known, hoping for a few more years and up to $15 million a year.

But with cheaper options available in a flooded free-agent closer market (Brian Fuentes, Kerry Wood, Brandon Lyon and Trevor Hoffman lead the class) and a few attached names -- J.J. Putz, Huston Street, Bobby Jenks -- possibly available in trades, it figures to be an interesting and potentially disappointing week for K-Rod.

It's money that matters:
Will the nationwide recession affect the salary numbers that have exploded in the last few Winter Meetings? Could be, according to the speculation of numerous GMs.

And with the sad recent passing of Blue Jays owner Ted Rogers, the uncertainty at the helm of that franchise basically turns a would-be major Winter Meetings player -- the improving Jays were expected to battle hard to keep Burnett and possibly jump in the mix for a lot more -- into a nonfactor.

Once again, we'll look to the Sabathia deal to set the barometer, but after the ink has dried on his deal and those of Teixeira and Ramirez, it wouldn't be surprising to see much smaller numbers in step with the signs of the times.

The quiet storms: Every winter, moves are made that don't seem like big deals at the time but make a major impact on the following season. And with tons of very good pieces to Major League puzzles out there, the biggest acquisitions of these Meetings might be some of the least-publicized.

So look past those slot machines and pay attention, because infielders Rafael Furcal, Orlando Cabrera, Casey Blake, Orlando Hudson and Juan Uribe are out there, as are outfielders Milton Bradley, Raul Ibanez and Juan Rivera.

Then there's the Rule 5 Draft, which in the past has produced such stars as Johan Santana, Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria.

And if that isn't enough, consider all the top Draft picks that Type A and Type B free-agent signings will net the teams that lose those players.

Just ask the Tampa Bay Rays how useful they'll be in the coming years.

Doug Miller is a senior writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Let's go out to the Lobby
Let's go out to the lobby
Let's go out to the lobby....
To get some Seven-Up!!

I used to love that silly little ditty!! clap
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:44 pm

12/07/08 9:00 PM EST
Tigers look to convert options in Vegas
Seeds are planted as team searches for shortstop, catcher and 'pen help

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Tigers have spent their offseason to date putting together their options, looking for a way to add a shortstop, a catcher and relievers on a budget. With baseball's Winter Meetings opening Monday, it's time for them to start turning options into deals.

Considering the options they put together last week, they might not have to wait long in their hotel suite at the Bellagio.

As team officials wrapped up the week back in Detroit, they had reignited the on-again, off-again discussions for Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson, talked with the Rangers about catcher Gerald Laird, and picked up talks with free-agent relievers such as left-hander Joe Beimel and reportedly Kerry Wood. That doesn't mean they can acquire all of these players, but they have a head start.

It's a delicate balance the Tigers will try to strike here. Their disappointing 2008 season exposed the holes they need to fill, but their payroll and their region's economy also showed the limit to their resources. Factor in a farm system that has solid talent but not necessarily depth at the upper levels, and it gets no easier.

Getting the first deal out of the way, whether it's a trade that costs them prospects or a free-agent signing that costs them payroll, will be key to how other moves fall. From there, the Tigers will know what they have left to deal with in terms of resources, and either choose, eliminate or add potential moves from there.

There seems to be at least a decent chance that first move could be at shortstop or catcher, given recent talks. The Pirates are believed to be set on trading Wilson, whether it's to Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers or somewhere else. The Tigers, on the other hand, aren't necessarily set on acquiring Wilson, and one Major League source gave the talks only a 10 percent chance of resulting in a trade. The Tigers have continued to explore the free-agent market, and they still seemingly have Boston's Julio Lugo as a potential fallback option.

Wilson, coincidentally, will be at the Winter Meetings, which aren't far from his home in California. So will representatives for free-agent shortstop Adam Everett, who are set to meet with Tigers officials here and continue what have so far been early talks on a possible fit for Everett in Detroit.

The Tigers are also expected to pick up on talks with Texas for Laird, part of the glut of catchers the Rangers will try to turn into a return of young pitching with a trade or two. thumbs up Detroit doesn't have the abundance of pitching prospects close to Major League ready that Texas seeks, but the talent level in the system could be enough to entice a swap.

Again, though, the Tigers have options. Detroit has expressed some interest in Florida's Matt Treanor, but those talks seem to be limited. The Tigers also reportedly have had some level of interest in Arizona's Miguel Montero. They also have explored the middle levels of free agency, including veteran Gregg Zaun.

Once one or both of those needs are filled, the Tigers' bullpen options should start to take better shape in what is shaping up to be a buyers' market for relievers. Between several free agents and a seemingly growing number of teams willing to listen on trade offers, the closers market has been a slow one, and it doesn't figure to pick up until one of the top free agents -- Francisco Rodriguez or Brian Fuentes -- signs.

Of more urgency could be the push to add a lefty reliever. Detroit has been aggressive in talks for Beimel, who is expected to move towards a deal during these meetings.

The wheeling and dealing won't be the only business conducted at these meetings. The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the results of its pre-1943 and post-1942 Veterans Committee balloting on Monday. Former Tigers coach Vada Pinson is on the post-1942 ballot. The Hall of Fame will also announce the winner of the annual Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence on Tuesday and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing on Wednesday.

Major League Baseball is also expected to make an announcement Wednesday on the upcoming World Baseball Classic, which could feature as many as a half-dozen Tigers on various teams. Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez and Armando Galarraga are expected to be part of the Venezuelan team, while Curtis Granderson and Justin Verlander are potential candidates for Team USA.

The Meetings will conclude on Thursday with the Rule 5 Draft.

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


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:39 pm

All that Magglio has done for Detroit, and he's referred to as "trade bait." Mad
(I want to do the "up yours" emoticon but it wouldn't change anything.)
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:44 pm

Keep Maggs
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:47 pm

laprimamirala wrote:
All that Magglio has done for Detroit, and he's referred to as "trade bait." Mad
(I want to do the "up yours" emoticon but it wouldn't change anything.)

They trade Maggs and there goes 100 RBI's! I don't think they would do it now that they have signed two low batting average players! The Tigers need every hit they can get.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:50 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
laprimamirala wrote:
All that Magglio has done for Detroit, and he's referred to as "trade bait." Mad
(I want to do the "up yours" emoticon but it wouldn't change anything.)

They trade Maggs and there goes 100 RBI's! I don't think they would do it now that they have signed two low batting average players! The Tigers need every hit they can get.



You got that right
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:03 am

12/08/08 11:39 PM EST
Tigers shore up 'D' on Meetings' Day 1
Trade for Laird, Everett signing signal shift away from big moves

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Tigers announced their trade Monday for Gerald Laird and talked about his ability to work with a pitching staff. They agreed to terms with Adam Everett later and discussed the importance of having a solid defensive shortstop.

An otherwise quiet first official day of baseball's Winter Meetings saw the Tigers emerge as wheelers and dealers for their relatively small moves, but it also saw Detroit's emphasis on defense demonstrated in action.

The Tigers are not looking for star power as they engage in talks on the Vegas strip. They're looking for guys who can help fix what ailed their star-studded squad last year. So far, they're optimistic about the way they've gone about it.

"I think it's got the potential to be a much better defensive team than we were," manager Jim Leyland said Monday night.

Considering their struggles in the field in 2008, they couldn't afford not to improve.

Though defense can be measured in so many specialized statistics,the Tigers' fielding woes were evident on a most basic level -- not just on the stats sheet, but watching the games. Only the Rangers had a lower fielding percentage among American League teams than the .981 mark the Tigers posted. Their miscues helped saddle the pitching staff with 71 unearned runs, second-most among AL clubs, and helped contribute to a mentality of what else can go wrong.

Just two AL teams had more wild pitches than the Tigers in '08, and it wasn't simply the result of the command woes of the pitching staff. Detroit catchers combined for 16 passed balls this past season.

Even with Detroit's big names and bigger offense, they couldn't overcome that many miscues. Their goal this offseason is to set up a squad that eliminates as many free outs as possible.

It isn't the entire reason for their approach; the team's payroll expectations obviously help play into it. Once the Everett move is final, the Tigers will be set in terms of position players, save for maybe a backup catcher. They'll move on from there to their pitching staff, notably their bullpen, and look to become more stingy there. They've engaged the Mariners on talks regarding closer J.J. Putz, with left-handed hitters Jeff Larish and/or Matt Joyce as potential parts of a deal.

Still, one of the thriftiest ways to improve a struggling pitching staff is to shore up the defense behind it.

"We should score runs," president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We should be in a position to swing the bats. We're looking more from a defensive perspective -- not role players, but guys who can do some little things for Jim."

In the Tigers' case, they started with the man who will catch those pitchers. While Laird compiled eight errors in his 88 games behind the plate for Texas this past season, he is regarded as a solid worker with a relatively strong arm and an ability to call a good game for a pitcher. He won't approach the defensive reputation of Ivan Rodriguez, but he won't have the same struggles the Tigers experienced in trying to replace Pudge down the stretch last year.

"He can catch," Leyland said of Laird. "We've seen him, obviously, for the last few years and myself and the coaching staff have been very high on him. I think we are very fortunate. You know, Johnny Benches are not out there. That's the way it is, and we think that we have got a guy that's really going to fit our club. He will change our club a little bit, really."

For his part, Laird said that he's looking forward to learning the Tigers' pitching staff and putting together a game plan to help get the most out of them. It's something he thought about as soon as he learned about the deal Sunday.

"I was going over all those guys," Laird said Monday afternoon. "Those guys have tremendous stuff."

The Tigers didn't want to comment on Everett specifically until he passes his physical and his deal is finalized, other than to say that they liked the reports on him from a workout last Thursday in Lakeland, Fla. Still, they were fine discussing the importance of the position. When they announced at season's end that they wouldn't pick up the contract option on Edgar Renteria, they said that improved defense would be their priority in replacing him.

Defense has long been Everett's calling card as a regular Major League shortstop, though a shoulder injury cost him a good portion of last season. As long as he's healthy, though, he's expected to be an upgrade in the field, especially in terms of range. Even with his limited playing time, he boasted a 5.09 range factor -- putouts plus assists per nine innings -- that was well above the league average, boosting his career mark to 4.68.

Ramon Santiago will also be a factor at short, having demonstrated a strong arm and good range himself in his occasional starts.

Just as important a factor, the Tigers believe, will be Brandon Inge's return as their everyday third baseman. The combined coverage should stop a good share of ground balls that managed to get into left field last season.

The sum total, the Tigers hope, will be a more fundamentally-solid squad -- even if the deals themselves aren't fundamentally huge.

"You don't need All Star-name players all the time," Dombrowski said, "and I think in our situation last year, we had a lot of them. We still have a lot of them. We're looking to try to really emphasize catching the ball."

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


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:20 am

12/09/08 12:15 AM EST
Class acts and done deals on Day 1
Maddux calls it a career; Hot Stove action heats up

By John Schlegel / MLB.com

Four years ago, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman went to baseball's Winter Meetings in Anaheim and strolled through the lobby, a genuine Las Vegas showgirl on each arm and an Elvis impersonator in tow, sending a clear and glitzy invitation to visit sometime.

On Monday, baseball officially dropped by Las Vegas and strolled into the Bellagio Hotel lobby, CC Sabathia on one arm, Jake Peavy dangling from the other and enough rumors impersonating news to extend all the way to Graceland.

General managers, agents and media descended upon the desert mecca for the first time as the Winter Meetings began on Monday, staging Day 1 of a four-day gathering right there on the Las Vegas Strip. It's a session that could see big stars making huge news, late and lively nights of spirited camaraderie, and the potential for money changing hands.

In other words, just a normal four days in Vegas -- with a red-seamed twist that makes it anything but normal.

It was fitting that the top name on the marquee for Day 1 was a hometown hero, Las Vegas' greatest gift to baseball: Greg Maddux. The winner of 355 games, Maddux started the clock on his road to Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame by officially announcing his retirement.

Leave it to the cerebral right-hander to throw the first pitch of these Winter Meetings with class.

"I'm just here to say, really, thank you to everybody," Maddux said. "Everybody in baseball, from teams I've played for, GMs, hitting coaches, pitching coaches, teammates, clubbies, people that work in the ballparks that you see every day in baseball. Everybody has always treated me great, and the friends I made, I really just came out here today to say thank you."


As baseball's fans shouted a collective "No, thank YOU!" to Maddux, the murmurs and whispers quickly gathered volume into the annual crescendo of Hot Stove action, reaction and just plain old fiction.

Some business was accomplished on Day 1, from the finalization of a trade that sent catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers to the Tigers to the subsequent reported signing by the Tigers of veteran shortstop Adam Everett, pending a physical. Later, Casey Blake and the Dodgers appeared close to reuniting for 2009.

No, the headlines of done deals did not shake the baseball world on Day 1.

"I guess it was a typical Winter Meetings day," Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said on Monday. "Some talks, couldn't get anything done. It took a half-hour to get through the lobby. It was all right."

But as usual, it wasn't so much about what got done as it as about what's getting done.

And nobody was getting it done like Sabathia.

The most sought-after free-agent pitcher worked the market up and down the Strip for a good 24 hours. He and his representatives started by meeting with the Yankees -- who brought Reggie Jackson to the room for good measure -- on Sunday night. The big lefty caught Dodgers GM Ned Colletti on the way out and professed, according to Colletti, a desire to pitch for the Dodgers. And then, during the course of Monday, Sabathia met with the incumbent Brewers ... and then with the Yankees yet again ... and the Red Sox, too?
Already offered a deal by the Yankees worth a reported $140 million over six years, Sabathia has a lot to think about as he weighs which teams (Giants? Angels?) might get him to his native California or whether the East Coast will win out.

"I just think, when I look at CC, I look at a guy that has three young kids, and he's trying to make the decision that is best for his family," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after spending time with Sabathia on Sunday night. "He's not going to rush into it."

Sabathia wasn't the only pitcher on the tips of people's tongues as the meetings began, not by a long shot. Day 1 was almost exclusively about the arms, and there are a lot of them out there.

Ben Sheets himself made his way through the lobby, and the free agent who hails from Texas met with the Rangers. The pursuit of A.J. Burnett remained high on the Yankees' list for the offseason, though it continued to be evident that Burnett isn't going anywhere until Sabathia makes a move.

The Mets and their search for a closer also made noise at the Bellagio, with Francisco Rodriguez reportedly receiving a three-year contract offer from New York, all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman emerging as a possibility and the team continuing to consider trade options.

And then there was another twist or two to the seemingly never-ending saga of the Padres' attempt to trade their ace, Peavy, who stands to make $63 million over the next four years. GM Kevin Towers said on Monday he has one team -- the Cubs -- he's targeting, and he plans to get something done with them or with the assistance of a third or fourth trade partner by the time the meetings end on Thursday, or he'll prepare to keep Peavy next year. By the end of the night, it had been revealed that the Phillies could become a third team in a deal and that the Angels might not be so far out of the running themselves.

There were a few good rumors, too -- Ramon Hernandez possibly going to Cincinnati for Ryan Freel, the Blue Jays perhaps considering getting in on shortstop Rafael Furcal and the Rays being interested in outfielder Milton Bradley.

Along with the annual media sessions with managers, there was the introduction of the MLB Network and a new Hall of Famer in Joe Gordon, along with the appearance by what could be the newest surefire candidate for the Hall of Fame in Maddux.

And that was just Day 1.

Las Vegas, baseball has arrived in town. If you weren't Las Vegas, we'd say you'd better prepare to stay up late.

John Schlegel is an executive editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:28 am

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Baseball
MLB looks to eliminate postseason coin flips
Detroit News wire services

LAS VEGAS -- Major League Baseball will push ahead with a plan to eliminate coin flips for deciding the site of tiebreaker games for division titles and wild-card spots.

After meeting Tuesday with general managers, MLB executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon said he hoped a proposal could be presented to owners in time for a decision at their meetings in Phoenix from Jan. 13-15. Between now and then, Solomon will solicit feedback from clubs on the change's potential impact on arranging travel and hotel accommodations.

Solomon said that the proposed change also will be discussed with the players' association.

In addition, GMs discussed whether to broaden the criteria for adding a seventh coach to each team in September. Currently, minor league coaches are eligible. GMs talked about whether anyone who spent significant time in uniform with the team should be made eligible.

Instead of deciding the sites by coin flips, criteria involving play would be used, such as head-to-head record between the tied teams and record within the division.


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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:52 pm

And now CC is a Yankmee.
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:29 pm

laprimamirala wrote:
And now CC is a Yankmee.

Why couldn't he be still in the NL, dang!
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PostSubject: Re: 2008 WINTER MEETINGS NEWS   Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:17 pm

12/11/08 7:37 PM EST
Many needs filled, Tigers look forward
Finding a closer to stabilize bullpen could take some time

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Don't tell Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski that the Winter Meetings don't serve a purpose anymore. The press releases on the board in the back of the media room and the buzz in the lobby at the Bellagio showed what it means for him.

"I always find it a great time to make moves," Dombrowski said.


If anything, it's what's left after returning home that's the hard part.

The Tigers left their Vegas shopping spree still without a closer, but they have just about everything else they needed. They didn't take care of what was once perceived to be the easiest part of their offseason moves, but through conversations and scouting, they answered the difficult questions of how to fill their two starting voids up the middle with quality talent without breaking their budget.

That's why Dombrowski likes this format.

"If you're in a position where you want to make a move, you have all your baseball people here," he said. "You sit around the room. You talk about things. You discuss things. You throw things out with other clubs. You have your agreements and disagreements. But everybody's there. So if you want to make moves, it's a time that's conducive to do it."

In terms of the Tigers adding position players, it was. In terms of adding a closer, it turned out to be a frustrating game of chess. The rest of their offseason shopping will involve trying to move around the remaining pieces of the closer market to find a ninth-inning solution.

Dombrowski said Friday that he doesn't expect anything imminent on that front.


"We'll regroup and come back," he said. "And at the beginning of next week, people start analyzing where they are. They'll look at the non-tender list. And I think it will sort of push some things forward with next week, clubs talking with one another. I'm sure we'll follow up on conversations we've had, and I would think we'll get some new talks. You're also going to have some free agents that start to fall, too. I would think we'll have more conversations, too."

Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman and Brandon Lyon are the most prominent free agents left. Baltimore's George Sherrill is available via trade, with Pittsburgh's Matt Capps a less likely option given what the Pirates are supposedly demanding. The Tigers, Cardinals, Brewers, Angels and Nationals are all looking for late-inning help. The rest is the process of elimination.

And given the increased talk about Fernando Rodney from Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland, even the incumbent closer isn't eliminated quite yet.

The Tigers came to town wanting to make moves, though their trade for Gerald Laird was already pretty much finished by the time they arrived. Without a catcher, a shortstop and a closer, they needed to make moves. The tricky part for them was how to position their resources and their budget to make all of them and still stay within payroll.

They haven't gotten everything done, but by dealing for Laird and agreeing to terms with Adam Everett, the Tigers are close. They even took care of a secondary need with Thursday's Edwin Jackson trade, allowing them to go to Spring Training hoping for rebounds from starting pitchers Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis instead of needing them.

The Laird deal showed that the Tigers could still swing a trade using pitching prospects from a system that was supposedly low on them by other estimations after last year's dealings. Though the Tigers could've used Guillermo Moscoso, they didn't need him in their long-term picture. Everett's pending signing to what is expected to be an incentive-laden contract helped the Tigers avoid a pricey trade for Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson.

With the extra payroll space and parts to deal, the Tigers targeted Seattle closer J.J. Putz. But the idea of giving up left-handed sluggers Jeff Larish and Matt Joyce in any sort of trade proved too much to overcome for an agreement. Once the Mariners changed course and sent Putz to the Mets in a three-team deal, the Tigers turned Joyce into starting pitching depth with Jackson.


By adding a starter, Dombrowski hopes, the Tigers have improved their relief corps -- first through better outings heading into the bullpen, then through eventually adding another would-be starter to their relief corps.

"I'm starting to feel a lot better about our depth," Dombrowski said.

He'll feel even better when and if Detroit adds somebody at the back end of the game.

Deals done: Acquired C Gerald Laird from Texas for RHPs Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo; agreed to terms on a one-year contract with SS Adam Everett; acquired RHP Edwin Jackson from Tampa Bay for OF Matt Joyce.

Rule 5 activity: Selected LHP Kyle Bloom from Pittsburgh in the Major League phase, lost C James Skelton to Arizona in the Major League phase.

Goals accomplished:
The Tigers added both a catcher and a shortstop for relatively low cost with a defensive emphasis at both spots. Everett is expected to be a major upgrade at short in terms of range, while Tigers officials see Laird as a quality receiver capable of holding down the running game and working with their young pitchers. Starting pitching wasn't a priority by comparison, but slotting Jackson in the fourth spot of the rotation provided a big relief for Dombrowski.

Unfinished business: The Tigers still have to sort out their bullpen, not that they didn't try while they were here. They're expected to move on a lefty reliever between now and the holidays, with free agent Joe Beimel the leading candidate, but the closer front could end up being a longer wait. Eventually, Detroit will have to approach their many arbitration cases and possibly pursue long-term deals, with Justin Verlander the most intriguing case.

GM's bottom line: "We're very happy. We've got a starting catcher. We've got one of the guys in the rotation. Hopefully we can do something at shortstop soon. For us, we feel very happy." -- Dombrowski

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.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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