Other than removing first baseman Ryan Strieby from the 40-man roster, it was an uneventful first day of the winter meetings for the Tigers. The only exciting news is that they are still very interested in Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes.
General Manager wouldn't say much about Cepedes when asked by reporters, bur he confirmed that he did indeed just come back from the Dominican Republic where he watched Cespedes work out. The fact that he won't say much about him is a good sign. That has generally been the case with his previous free agent signings. Cepedes is not a free agent yet, but should become one in the next couple of weeks.
The Tigers don't appear to be a factor in the bidding for the rest of the high cost free agents however. Dombrowski says that the Tigers were never in contact with shortstop Jose Reyes, who signed with the Marlins yesterday. Despite some previous reports to the contrary, they also don't appear to be pursuing pitcher Mark Buerhle. Dombrowski said they were not likely to sign a starting pitcher to a long -term deal.
The Tigers are still open to signing a fifth starter to serve as insurance in case Jacob Turner or another starter is not ready at the beginning of the season. Dombrowski seems more willing to spend money on a reliever and Octavio Dotel remains a possibility.
Dombrowski also claims that he is comfortable starting the season with Ramon Santiago/ Ryan Raburn at second base and Don Kelly/ Brandon Inge at third base. I still don't think that will happen though. There was some talk today about them trying to get super-sub Daniel Murphy from the Mets. He profiles similarly to a left-handed Ryan Raburn and can play second, third or outfield. I could see him platooning with Inge at third. They are not believed to be a participant in the Aramis Ramirez sweepstakes.
Dombrowsi and owner Mike Illitch have suprised us in the past, so you never know what's going to happen. For now though, it seems as if the only high profile player on their radar is Cepedes. Beyond that, it appears they are shopping for stop gaps.
Here is what some others are saying:
MLB Trade Rumors