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What's next? Tigers need more offense, GM Dave Dombrowski hints

OK, so it's not as if Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski is making the exact claim, "We need to add some more runs to our lineup." But he may as well be saying that.

Quoted by the Free Press today, Dombrowski said:

"I always bite my tongue when I say this, because you never feel comfortable about, really, anything," he said. "But we’re not looking to add pitching at this point. We have what we think are four starters that are pretty well established and a battle for the fifth spot. Our bullpen’s pretty well set at this point, from the left side and the right side.

"Most of our positional spots are set, in the sense that if you had to open the season, I’d feel comfortable in that regard. But if there was an area we’re going to address, it would be an offensive perspective. I don’t know if anything will happen or not."

At this point, this truly feels like the kind of slow burn we typically get when the Tigers make a rather telegraphed move. Denials, non-denials, hint-dropping, etc.

So at this point, I will say I pretty much expect Johnny Damon will be a Tiger. I could be wrong, but ... it just has the feel. Not that it has to be Damon. It could still be Felipe Lopez. But I just feel like it will be Damon, honestly.

There is one thing I know is true and one thing I believe is true: The Tigers have a lot of money invested in 2010's payroll, and they are still a team that will come up a few wins short of a division title. The latter is because of too many problems with their offense. It would be folly to come so far toward competing in 2010 and not complete the job. In for a penny, in for pound.

The Tigers need some left-handed pop in their lineup. Actually, any pop in the lineup would be nice. But when the opening-day lineup is projected to include eight right-handed batters and a switch hitter, as well as two rookies with no major league at-bats, well you can see why adding Damon's bat would make sense. Manager Jimmy Leyland has probably been in Dombrowski's ear telling him just that, just as he likely told Dombrowski how much better he'd feel with having an established closer pitching in the ninth inning.

After the Verlander signing, the payroll is already above $120 million for 2010 with a few league-minimums to go on top of it. Signing Damon could cost $6 million -- I don't think he'll be the $4-5 million people expect if he takes a one-year deal -- putting Detroit around $128 when all is said and done. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a move by opening day that freed up some cash either if an addition signing is in fact made.

In any case, I don't think this is the last big press conference the Tigers will be holding before the season opens. Dombrowski still has some work to do.