When Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski met with the media late Monday afternoon at MLB's Winter Meetings on Orlando, he made sure to open by insisting, as he did during the introductory presser for Joe Nathan, he did not have anything huge brewing.
#Tigers Dombrowski opened the media session by again insisting while they are active, focus is not on top-tier names.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) December 9, 2013
#Tigers talking with free agents, Dombrowski said, but "not the big, big ones."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 9, 2013
That means no Shin-Soo Choo.
Tigers indicating a preference to platoon in LF -- as long as the owner doesn't write a check for Shin-Soo Choo. All thoughts are tentative.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) December 9, 2013
At least that is what Dombrowski would have you believe, as rumors continue to run rampant claiming Detroit is a possible landing spot for the 31-year-old outfielder. We'll soon find out if the Tigers are still a player in the Choo sweepstakes; Ken Rosenthal reporting the Texas Rangers and at least one other club are looking to sign the last remaining big-name free agent this week.
Sources: Choo talks appear to be reaching critical stage. #Rangers, at least one other club in.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 10, 2013
Be it Choo or another player not yet reported to be on the Tigers' radar, they are almost certainly in the market to upgrade the left field position.
It appears Tigers are still open to the possibility of adding a left fielder to platoon with Andy Dirks. Said Dombrowski: "We'll see."— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) December 9, 2013
But keep in mind, Andy Dirks is rehabbing a long-injured knee and will be in the outfield mix.
Dirks has been rehabbing knee, banged-up during a spring-training game. Doctors say he's good to go. They diagnosed (undisclosed) injury.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) December 9, 2013
But what about the bullpen? The Tigers have to be looking for arms, right? Turns out the Tigers aren't enthused by the relievers available in the free agent market.
#Tigers sound lukewarm on bullpen market at this point. Could change once closer jobs get filled and free agents eye setup jobs.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 9, 2013
Which helps explain the move of Casey Crosby from starter to reliever, something which was long overdue. Of course, as is his wont, Dombrowski talked up other system pitchers.
Dombrowski says he wouldn't be shocked if Corey Kneble (RH reliever) or Drew VerHagen (RH starter) get close to Comerica Park in 2014.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) December 9, 2013
As for the rotation, Jose Alvarez remains the number six starting pitcher in the Tigers' organization. But don't count out Dombrowski's prize prospect from the Doug Fister trade, Robbie Ray.
As for pecking order for #Tigers rotation depth, Alvarez will start as first fill-in. Ray could be guy after a little seasoning at Triple A.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) December 9, 2013
New first base/base running/infield coach Omar Vizquel has his first marching orders. To no one's surprise, they involve working to improve third baseman Nick Castellanos' defense.
Omar Vizquel will be contacting Nick Castellanos shortly to set up an offseason defensive workout. #Tigers— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) December 9, 2013
Dombrowski was happy to discuss good news about the recovery of his meal ticket, Miguel Cabrera, from off-season surgery.
Dombrowski confirms Miguel Cabrera, who underwent core muscle repair surgery, is on track to be 100 percent by the start of spring training.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) December 9, 2013
Just as he did during the press conference introducing Joe Nathan, Dombrowski made sure to point out Cabrera backs the move to first base 100%.
Dombrowski also acknowledged that Miguel Cabrera agreed "to do whatever you want me to do" in returning to 1B. Cleared path for Castellanos.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) December 9, 2013
This quote from Dombrowski sums up how tight lipped he is when it comes to possible personnel moves.
Dombrowski: "We're staying very busy between talking with clubs and talking with free agents."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 9, 2013
Textbook GM-speak for "I'm not telling you any-damn-thing."