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Is Dave Dombrowski Playing 'Hard to Get' with Free Agents?

After acquiring Edgar Renteria, Dave Dombrowski seems eager to dampen expectations for a free agent fun-for-all in Detroit.

First, the Tigers' courtship of outfielder Geoff Jenkins is allegedly ending before it even really started. With Renteria now in the lineup, a Marcus Thames-Timo Perez-Ryan Raburn trio evidently might be good enough, as far as Detroit's braintrust is concerned.

And then, Dombrowski frames Curt Schilling into an either-or scenario, as in either they'll sign Kenny Rogers or pursue an alternative like Schilling. Call me greedy or unrealistic, but I think there's room for both on the Tigers' pitching staff.

Maybe one reason Dombrowski says he'll be "conservative" in pursuing relievers (besides the performances of Zach Miner and Jason Grilli) is the potential return of Matt Mantei. Mantei, who's now 34 years old, told Jon Paul Morosi that he wants to pitch for the Tigers "and nobody else. He also believes he's in "1999 shape," which was the year of his greatest success (32 saves for Florida and Arizona, with 99 strikeouts in 65 innings).

Mantei has made his intentions known to Tigers management, and both sides have agreed to decide on a contract after Mantei throws a bullpen session for the team in January. He also says he'd be willing to begin the season in Toledo, if necessary.

Add Salon.com's King Kaufman to the list of those who think the Detroit Tigers might still be in play for Alex Rodriguez. (Others include Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal.) He ranks the Tigers third among potential A-Rod suitors.

While we're talking about A-Rod, the Toledo Mud Hens want to get in on the fun too, spurred by Hank Steinbrenner's comment, "Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, or a Toledo Mud Hen?"

Not only did Toledo design a Hall of Fame plaque for A-Rod with the Mud Hens listed among the teams he played for, they also drafted a letter to send to his agent, Scott Boras. And here's the hilarious part from the letter:

The letter includes a reminder that Mike Hessman - the International League's reigning Most Valuable Player - is the Mud Hens' everyday third baseman.

"We think that it would be a healthy competition at spring training between the two of them," it reads. "Would your client be willing to play a different position?"

If Jenkins is (supposedly) off the Tigers' shopping list, Adam Dunn surely isn't on it either. And if he was, the Cincinnati Reds officially picking up Dunn's contract option probably nixes that possibility.

Of course, the New York Yankees picked up Gary Sheffield's option just before trading him to Detroit. But their intent seemed rather obvious at the time, as did Sheffield's.

I suppose I'm just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks here, but is Shawn Chacon another potential starting pitcher that might be worth the Tigers' interest? With the Pirates this past season, Chacon bounced between the starting rotation and bullpen with a decent amount of success, finishing with a 5-4 record and 3.94 ERA in 64 games (four starts). He notched 79 strikeouts and 48 walks in 96 innings.