For starters, while there are still opportunities to improve, if the Tigers didn’t make a single move the rest of the off-season, they could head into spring training feeling very confident about their roster. It obviously wouldn’t be perfect, but with the addition of Torii Hunter, the expected return of Victor Martinez, and the rapidly ascending fireballer Bruce Rondon, the major gaps appear to already have solutions in place.
However, the Tigers are by no means done dealing this off-season.
Among the shopping list, the Tigers are still pursuing right-hander Anibal Sanchez, though it’s clear they won’t meet his reported 6-year, $90 million asking price. There have also been rumors of conversations with super-agent Scott Boras about free agent closer Rafael Soriano, though again there’s doubt that was anything more than an interest-generating mention for the sake of Soriano. Finally, mentions of shortstop Stephen Drew continue, as the Tigers maintain they’re comfortable with Jhonny Peralta, but quietly evaluate potential alternatives.
The thing is, it’s unlikely any of those potential moves find resolution this week in Nashville.
Unless Sanchez gets his asking price, he’ll wait for the top pitcher on the market, Zach Greinke, to sign. And as of now, it sounds as if the Tigers are only willing to go about two-thirds of the way to the guaranteed money he’s seeking ($60 million to $90 million).
Unless the Tigers change their tune in a hurry, the big money, multi-year deals both Soriano and Drew are seeking won’t be coming from Detroit. The Tigers like Drew, but aren’t going to hand him more than a one-year deal when he’s only played half of each of the last two seasons, and when he did play, was below average offensively.
And any other deal the Tigers might get involved in (a potential corner outfielder to platoon with Andy Dirks, or possibly a backup catcher), probably won’t be addressed until spring training begins to approach and players alter their asking prices.
A move is never out of the question for general manager Dave Dombrowski, who multiple times in the past five years has come away being the newsmaker of the Winter Meetings. And with an owner willing to spend, and a general manager willing to deal, it’s never outside the realm of possibility. But this time around, the Tigers have already pulled the trigger where they needed to.
The caveat always applies now the Tigers; you never know what Dombrowski and Ilitch will do. They could sign Sanchez, and suddenly trade Rick Porcello, Brennan Boesch and Peralta all within 72 hours.
But, as of now, don’t be surprised if things wrap up and the Tigers head home, looking exactly the same as they did when they arrived.