Author Archive

Nothing going on with Tigers on Garza

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News “nothing has changed” in regards to his remarks from last week on the Tigers’ approach to starting pitching and their prospects, despite recent rumors. Another source told MLB.com Tuesday that there’s nothing going on with the Tigers in regards to Cubs right-hander Matt Garza.

MLB Network and MLB.com’s Peter Gammons had similar sentiments Tuesday night on Hot Stove.

“I’m told it’s not going to happen,” Gammons said of a potential Garza deal to Detroit. “I mean, the Cubs are interested in talking with the Tigers. I’m told the Tigers have said, ‘We’re not going to do it.'”

Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, now a host on MLB Network Radio, suggested on ESPN.com that the Tigers could get a deal done for Garza if they included top positional prospect Nick Castellanos with Turner, their top pitching prospect. The Tigers were not willing to include them both in a package to the A’s for Gio Gonzalez, on whom they had serious discussions and seemingly valued more.

“Now, they won’t even do Turner for Garza,” Gammons continued. “In fact, the Tigers staff is saying to the front office, you know what, we can open the season with Turner as the fifth starter and see what happens.”

Gonzalez, whom Oakland traded to Washington last month, is four years away from free agency, as well as left-handed. Garza, a right-hander, has just two years left before he can hit the open market. Detroit’s rotation currently has four right-handers: Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Jason Beck

Dombrowski: Tigers aren’t in trade talks on starters

Though the Tigers have been linked in rumors with talks on Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Detroit has no trade talks ongoing on any starting pitchers.

And while Dombrowski won’t call any of his top prospects untouchable, a term he rarely uses on anybody, he made it clear they aren’t looking to deal Jacob Turner. That doesn’t mean Turner isn’t available for the right deal, but it indicates they aren’t going out and shopping him for a veteran starter.

At this point, Dombrowski said, the Tigers haven’t reversed course on their plans to go after a fifth starter to compete with prospects such as Turner, Drew Smyly and Andy Oliver.

“Our plan hasn’t changed,” Dombrowski said. “We’re in a situation where we really have been consistent all along. We like our young guys. We feel that one of them will step up and be our fifth starter. Somehow [our approach] has been mistaken.”

Dombrowski said the Tigers have not called about any starting pitchers on the trade market. Any conversations on veterans starters, he said, have been initiated by other club.

“We are not looking,” he said. “There are some guys that are out there and are very good and clubs haved called us about them. But we have four veteran starters, and sometimes you have to break in young pitching.”

They’ll still listen, he said, but they’re not looking. And the inquiries that have been made, he said, haven’t gone far.

“Probably the only guy we had serious conversations on was Gio Gonzalez,” he said, “and we just weren’t prepared to pay the price. Other than that, we really haven’t talked about a starting pitcher.”

Dombrowski also said Al Alburquerque’s recent elbow surgery won’t put them in the market for another reliever. They signed Octavio Dotel knowing that Alburquerque was dealing with off and on injuries. Dombrowski didn’t rule out re-signing Joel Zumaya if he accepts a minor-league contract, but that nothing has changed on that front either.

– Jason Beck

Tigers trade Perry to Nationals for Balester

Hours after the Tigers’ signing of Octavio Dotel left Ryan Perry as a man without a role, he became a former Tiger. Detroit sent the former first-round pick to the Nationals Friday night in exchange for Collin Balester.

“Acquiring Collin Balester from the Nationals today adds another good arm to our organization,” team president/general manager Dombrowski said in a statement. “He has shown the ability to pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen in the past, a role we are looking for him to fill for our club in 2012.”

Perry was the centerpiece of a reliever-heavy Tigers draft in 2008, a hard-throwing right-hander who was the setup man of the future, if not a potential closer. But after he made the team out of camp the next spring, he never really found the consistency to hold down a role.

Dotel’s signing took away any chance Perry had for the seventh-inning role. He has down the long relief role before, but if the Tigers were going to sign a swing starter anyway who would fill that job, Perry was a man without a job.

Perry went 2-0 with a 5.35 ERA for Detroit this past season, allowing 39 hits over 37 innings with 21 walks and 24 strikeouts. His career stats in three seasons as a Tiger included a 5-6 record, 4.07 ERA, 82 walks and 129 strikeouts over 161 1/3 innings.

Balester went 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA for the Nationals this past season, striking out 34 batters over 35 2/3 innings. He went 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA at Triple-A Syracuse, with 46 strikeouts over 39 1/3 innings.

Perry was one minor league option remaining, so the Nationals don’t necessarily have to keep him on the big league roster out of camp. Balester is out of options.

– Jason Beck

Dotel agrees to terms on one-year deal with Tigers

The Tigers found the man they wanted to shore up the middle of their bullpen, and Octavio Dotel found another new home. Detroit reached an agreement with the veteran reliever Thursday morning on a one-year contract with an option for 2013.

The deal is pending a physical, according to two baseball sources. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski declined to comment Thursday morning on Dotel, other than to confirm the Tigers have interest. Dombrowski added that no announcement on any deals will likely happen Thursday, since team officials are flying home.

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, who first reported the two sides were closing in on a deal Wednesday night, reported the contract is worth $3 million.

The 38-year-old Dotel will be playing for his 13th Major League team, and his third in the American League Central, but he has been a Tigers target on several occasions over the last five years. He’ll finally get his shot in a seventh-inning role to bridge the gap between Detroit’s starting rotation and the late-inning duo of setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde.

Tigers, Dotel close to finalizing one-year deal

The Tigers found the man they wanted to shore up the middle of their bullpen, and Octavio Dotel found another new home. They found a match Wednesday evening, and the two sides spent Wednesday evening putting together a one-year contract.

The deal was not finalized as of late Wednesday evening, but a baseball source characterized it as close. It’s expected to include an option for the 2013 season, a compromise between the multi-year contract Dotel was seeking and the one-year deal the Tigers preferred.

The Tigers have a policy of not confirming contracts until a physical has been completed. That likely won’t happen until after the Winter Meetings have concluded at the Hilton Anatole hotel.

The 38-year-old Dotel will be playing for his 13th Major League team, and his third in the American League Central, but he has been a Tigers target on several occasions over the last five years. He’ll finally get his shot in a seventh-inning role to bridge the gap between Detroit’s starting rotation and the late-inning duo of setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde.

Dotel’s pursuit was down to two teams by Wednesday evening, pitting the Tigers against the Cardinals. Dotel won a World Series this fall in St. Louis, and by all accounts felt a strong pull to go back. However, the chance to win in Detroit and the strong Latin presence on the team helped draw Dotel to the Tigers after they began courting him a couple weeks ago.

– Jason Beck

Tigers closing in on reliever, looking like Dotel

The Tigers are closing in on filling their need for a reliever to handle the seventh inning, and it’s looking more like Octavio Dotel is the answer.

Without naming names, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated they’re zeroing in on their guy.

“We’re making some strides,” said Dombrowski, who had talks ongoing late Wednesday afternoon just before his regularly scheduled daily meeting with reporters.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, the Tigers were one of two teams primarily involved in negotiations on Dotel, according to a source. Detroit has other options, including Luis Ayala, but Dombrowski indicated they’re zeroing in on a somebody, and that adding that arm has become a priority.

“If there’s one area, after we signed [Gerald] Laird, after we signed [Ramon] Santiago back, if there’s one area that probably received a little more focus than us than others, it’s been trying to tweak that bullpen,” Dombrowski said. “We’ve been looking at a lot of different [bullpen] options, but we do have priority/priorities at this point.”

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com tweeted that the Tigers are the front-runners for Dotel, with a National League club also involved. The Cardinals, where Dotel won a World Series ring a couple months ago, and Brewers have also been linked to Dotel in recent days.

Dotel is believed to be seeking a two-year contract. Dombrowski said Wednesday he would “prefer not to” offer a multi-year deal to a reliever at this point.

“The preference would be short-term,” Dombrowski said, though he said that sentiment isn’t as strong as it would be for any starting pitcher they might sign for the fifth spot.

– Jason Beck

Tigers inquire on Gio Gonzalez

The Tigers are among the teams interested in A’s left-hander Gio Gonzalez should Oakland GM Billy Beane decide to deal him, but any chance of a big push appears to be dim at this point.

The Tigers inquired on Gonzalez here at the Winter Meetings as an idea to see if they could do something bigger than expected for a good price. The asking price in return, however, apparently cooled that interest. While top pitching prospect Jacob Turner could be expendable in a package for Gonzalez, who has four years left before free agency, other potential pieces in a package beyond that appear to be a problem.

The Tigers are open to improving, but they’re not going to do it while taking away from the core of the team that won the AL Central and made it to within two games of the World Series. Unless the asking price comes down, it doesn’t appear to be a good fit, and with so many additional teams reported to be interested, a discount doesn’t look likely.

– Jason Beck

Tigers could make run at Gio Gonzalez

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski noted a little progress on gaining some regard from other teams in Detroit’s position prospects, but he also noted that the primary interest from teams in trade talks has been the team’s highly-touted pitching prospects, as usual. If the Tigers are going to make a serious attempt at acquiring Gio Gonzalez from the A’s, as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser suggested late Tuesday evening, there’s little reason to think they could do it without giving up highly-regarded pitching prospects, starting with Jacob Turner.

Slusser reports the Tigers have strong interest in joining the Gonzalez sweepstakes, which so far has reportedly centered around more pitching-starved clubs like the Yankees, and would probably be willing to include Turner as part of their offer. Essentially, then, Gonzalez would slot into the open rotation spot rather than replace one of the other four, and Turner would be a man without a role in Detroit.

A’s general manager Billy Beane told reporters earlier Tuesday that nothing was imminent. Dombrowski said Tuesday afternoon that talks on various fronts had reached “a lull period.”

– Jason Beck

Nothing moving so far with Tigers, Ramirez

With Jose Reyes now off the market, the next free agent position player who could logically be a fit for the Tigers is third baseman Aramis Ramirez. So far, however, there’s nothing going on between the two.

Look for the Tigers and Ramirez’s representatives to touch base here at the Winter Meetings, but they haven’t had any contact since their earlier talks last month. That indicates the Tigers are not one of the four or five teams who are seriously involved with him.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com tweeted late Sunday that there was “nothing serious” going on with the Tigers and Ramirez. It looks now like there’s not much at all, though things change quickly sometimes during the Winter Meetings.

– Jason Beck

Zumaya to throw for teams in mid-December

Former Tigers reliever turned free agent Joel Zumaya, who has battled injuries ever since his standout rookie season in 2006, will throw for teams in mid-December in a public workout as he tries to prove he’s ready to compete for a job in Spring Training.

Zumaya will throw a 30-pitch mound session on or around Dec. 14 in Houston, home base of his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks. At least 10 teams have shown interest in taking a look, Zumaya told MLB.com in a phone interview Wednesday night. That supposedly includes the Red Sox, who expressed interest soon after Zumaya became a free agent at season’s end.

Zumaya has a standing offer from the Tigers for a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Training. He could get the same from other teams, which would leave him trying to measure the best oppportunity, or he could get an incentive-laden Major League deal from a team willing to take a shot. Zumaya could be an intriguing option for teams looking for a low-risk, high-reward signing for a non-closing reliever.

When Zumaya is healthy, he’s an effective pitcher with a upper-90s to 100 mph fastball. However, he hasn’t pitched more than 31 games in a season since his standout rookie season in 2006. His last Major League pitch came at the end of June 2010, when he fractured his elbow throwing a pitch in a game at Minnesota. He missed all of 2011 after doctors had to repeat a procedure to insert a screw in his elbow to stabilize the joint.

– Jason Beck

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 653 other followers