Ivan Rodriguez - Dombrowski said they have not decided yet whether to pick up Pudge's option:
Asked to evaluate Rodriguez's performance, Dombrowski described it as a "solid season. I don't think he's the same player he was before, but you wouldn't anticipate that type of situation performancewise at his age. But he still played solidly. But, it's also one where you all know what the option is. It's a very large option, so there's a lot of thought to be involved."That does not sound like a ringing endorsement to me. Also, Rodriguez earlier talked in the past tense when discussing his career with the Tigers.
"It was a good roll here. It was very nice. Very good four years."Despite his decline in performance over the last couple of years, it would seem like it would not be too easy to replace Pudge given the other options. However, it's not sounding to me like they'll pick up the option. If that happens, I would expect him to sign with the highest bidder.
Shortstop- Ramon Santiago will not be the starting shortstop. They will fill the spot via free agency or trade. There were no hints as to what kind of player they were targeting.
Todd Jones - will likely sign with either the Tigers or Braves. If he does sign with the Tigers, Dombrowski said he'll start the season as the closer but not stay in the role all year long. Personally, I prefer a healthy Joel Zumaya in the set up role pitching with men on base and going multiple innings when necessary. He seems destined to close eventually though. Anyway, if Jones does not come back to the Tigers, they will look for a late inning reliever to replace him.
Starting rotation - Kenny Rogers is expected to make a decision soon on whether he'll return or retire. Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson are locks for the starting rotation. They will be joined by a veteran starter (Kenny Rogers or someone from outside the organization if he retires). One spot will be left open for a young starter such as Andrew Miller or Jair Jurrjens.
Left Field - Dombrowski talked about the possibility of a platoon with Marcus Thames and Timo Perez or somebody from outside the organization. I'd like to see them get somebody other than Perez but he didn't sound all that optimistic about acquiring a left-handed hitter.