Dunn pops back up on Tigers’ radar

Just when everybody was focusing on the Tigers’ search for a bat, they added an arm for the bullpen, which some felt was just as pressing of a need. But the bat might not be far behind, and it might not be the guy everyone has come to expect.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported Wednesday from baseball’s GM meetings that the Tigers have picked up talks on free-agent slugger Adam Dunn, and have a serious interest. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick cautions that Dunn isn’t close to a deal with Detroit or any club at this point, which goes along with indications in Detroit that nothing is imminent on that front. Still, on the heels of the three-year deal with Joaquin Benoit, it reinforces the point that the Tigers are moving early and moving aggressively.

The Tigers have long coveted Dunn’s intimidating power bat, and some thought they had a chance at getting him this summer before the trade deadline. The main reason there didn’t seem to be a fit for him to sign with Detroit this winter was his supposed preference to play first base. The Tigers aren’t moving Miguel Cabrera off that spot. If Wednesday is any indication that Dunn is backing off that notion, that changes the market in Detroit’s favor. It could also mean that he isn’t going to get as good of a deal to play first base in the National League as he would as a DH in the American League.

Even if the Tigers were willing to play Dunn in the field on occasion, it’s unlikely they could fit him and Victor Martinez into the same roster. Martinez could catch, indeed, but the Tigers continue to consider Alex Avila as their main man behind the plate, with any signing meant to supplement him.

— Jason Beck

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