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 Dave Dombrowski, Tigers staff will meet today to start planning for 2012

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PostSubject: Dave Dombrowski, Tigers staff will meet today to start planning for 2012   Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:42 am

Last Updated: September 20. 2011 1:00AM
Dave Dombrowski, Tigers staff will meet today to start planning for 2012
Tom Gage/ The Detroit News

Kansas City, Mo.— The Tigers front office will get together today with manager Jim Leyland and his coaches for what, in other years, would simply be the first group discussion about the team's offseason needs.

It was at a similar meeting last year that they ear-marked a middle-of-the-lineup hitter as a want — Victor Martinez being among the candidates.

A year later, as was the case last weekend in Oakland, Martinez has received praise for being "relentless" in the various ways he's helped the Tigers win the AL Central.

"He's been a God-send for us," Leyland said.

Not just as a productive hitter, but as a valuable teammate who's become one of the true leaders.

Is there another God-send out there for 2012? What takes place today will be the first step in finding that out.

This year, however, discussion of the postseason is bound to creep into the meeting.

"I think it will be a little more detailed," Leyland said. "There could be a discussion about our (postseason) roster and rotation.

"But, generally, this meeting is to discuss our needs for next year, what we want to try to do to improve our ballclub."

So while fully absorbed in the path they're on, it's also time for the Tiers to gaze farther down the road, as well.

"Everybody voices their opinion," Leyland said. "It's a very low-key meeting, but a very important meeting. There will be another with the scouts, but the coaches won't have to come back for that one.

"They'll get the coaches' viewpoint now. It's just Dave (Dombrowski, general manager and president) being thorough. That's what he does. He leaves no stone unturned. What we do is put names on a board of who might available in an area where you might need help. It's very interesting really, because you get a lot of opinions."

What it isn't, Leyland said, is a back-and-forth of, "I want this guy, I want that guy."

"You might be asked why you want someone instead of someone else. Then you write them on the board and rank them."

What Dombrowski does, or at least did last year — and probably will again because it was well received — is make all the participants feel like GMs for a day.

"It was really interesting," Leyland said. "Dave gave us a (dollar) figure last year, but I won't say how much it was. Then he said, 'If you have this amount to spend, you can probably get three of those guys. Pick your three guys.'"

The Tigers might not have as many identifiable needs this winter, though.

Last year, they wanted a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, a starting pitcher and a lefty reliever.

This winter, they won't need the lefty because there are no plans to start Phil Coke again. If there's an opening for a starter, it looks like the Tigers are grooming Jacob Turner for it.

But the thought of another hitter always is intriguing. If the Tigers are contemplating changes, they'd probably come at second and third base. But it's possible they won't feel much of a need at those positions, either.

The extent to which a meeting about next season will share its time with the postseason is unknown, but it wouldn't be surprising if the talk about the division series takes a chunk out of it.

After all, it is the task at hand.

From The Detroit News:

“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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