Tigers in wait-and-see mode to fill SS vacancy

December 12th, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- The Tigers entered the offseason prepared to wait out the free-agent market to find bargains at starting pitcher and shortstop. Midway through the Winter Meetings, the offseason has played halfway to expectations.
Detroit has pitching depth, with at least seven starting pitchers now that Matt Moore and are signed to one-year deals. The Tigers still, however, do not have a shortstop, and appear unlikely to acquire one anytime soon.

"But believe me, we'll have a shortstop come Spring Training," Tigers general manager Al Avila said from his suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on Tuesday.
"Thank you," manager Ron Gardenhire said, sitting to his left.
"It's not as important here in December," Avila continued, "but we'll have one in Spring Training, one way or another."
The Tigers will take a look at former All-Star , released by the Blue Jays on Tuesday with two years and $38 million left on his contract, once he works out for teams, though Avila called it a "low probability."
The Tigers are taking a look at other free agents, but that segment of the market isn't moving. And unlike other positions, it's not exactly clear who needs to sign to set the rest of the market in motion. Manny Machado is the consensus top shortstop available, but he's so far in front that it's difficult to label the others as fallback options.

With the pitching search, the Tigers didn't need that to happen.
"We did identify Tyson Ross early as one of the guys we wanted to get, so we were happy with that," Avila said. "And with Matt Moore, really, I think for the cost and the possible turnaround, it was a low-cost, low-risk move, so we felt comfortable there. And both players wanted to move it along. …
"With the shortstops, it's kind of been the opposite. They're being more patient, I would say, as we are."
Ross believes he can return to his old form
Ross and Moore signed early for one-year deals. That's unlikely to happen early with the second tier of shortstops the Tigers are eyeing, such as , , and . The Tigers want a one-year stopgap to buy time until and/or are ready for the big leagues.

The Tigers are also looking at creative options, potentially trades. But again, that might require another move to set in motion.
"We're kicking around a lot of things," Avila said. "When you get in a room like this with everybody together, there's a lot of ideas that get kicked around. If you go out and sign a shortstop right now, something two days from now or a week from now can happen and you go, 'Why did we do that?'
"Everything has its timing. And when it feels right, it'll happen."
Quick hits
• The Tigers are keeping tabs on the relief market, Avila said, but it's not a high priority for them.
"We've got a lot of arms," he said, noting a few of their relievers are out of Minor League options.
• The Tigers are finalizing a list of prospects for Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. Detroit holds the fifth pick, and is likely to select at least one player.