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Tigers aim to soften rebuild at Winter Meetings

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers are open for business this week with an eye toward the future, fittingly in the shadow of EPCOT's Future World.

As baseball's Winter Meetings get underway this week, the Tigers continue to look for low-risk, high-upside signings to soften their rebuild while fielding trade interest in veteran players such as second baseman Ian Kinsler. Expect both quests to yield some activity as Major League front offices and agents gather in one place and talk deals face-to-face rather than swapping texts or phone calls.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers are open for business this week with an eye toward the future, fittingly in the shadow of EPCOT's Future World.

As baseball's Winter Meetings get underway this week, the Tigers continue to look for low-risk, high-upside signings to soften their rebuild while fielding trade interest in veteran players such as second baseman Ian Kinsler. Expect both quests to yield some activity as Major League front offices and agents gather in one place and talk deals face-to-face rather than swapping texts or phone calls.

Business has been building over the past week, with the Tigers signing Major League contracts with speedy center fielder Leonys Martin and potential bounceback starter Mike Fiers. Both are two years away from free agency, essentially giving the Tigers flexibility to keep the players or trade them for prospects if they regain past form or cut ties if they don't. Expect more deals along those lines as the free-agent market sorts itself out.

Hot Stove Tracker

Kinsler, shortstop Jose Iglesias, closer Shane Greene and others could garner trade discussions as clubs look for short-term help and the Tigers look for payroll relief and prospects in return.

New Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire will talk with reporters and national media on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. ET. It'll mark his first media session since his introductory press conference in October, and his first remarks since having a chance to look over the roster he has inherited. Look for his comments here on the site.

Finally, look for the Tigers to be busy when the Meetings wrap up Thursday morning with the annual Rule 5 Draft, allowing teams to pluck unprotected prospects from other organizations for a fee. The last time Detroit was in this extensive of a rebuild 15 years ago, they drafted three players in the Rule 5. The draft begins at 9 a.m.

It all makes for an interesting backdrop as the meetings begin.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the Winter Meetings, from insider analysis and player breakdown to interviews with club managers, general managers and other newsmakers. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft. Look for coverage at tigers.com throughout the week, from breaking news to daily reports to a podcast midweek. Feel free to sound off on Twitter and Facebook, as well as in the comments section.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers