Unable to procure right-handed bat, Tigers stand pat
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TON -- Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski summed up the club's stance on the trade market coming out of Tuesday's non-waiver Deadline in just four words.
"This is our club," he said.
Dombrowski said plenty more, of course, but that was the point. No more wheeling and dealing, no more prospect debate down the stretch, no more questions about payroll. The Tigers will get some players back from the disabled list, and they could get some big additions as September callups, but this is Detroit's roster.
Dombrowski went into Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline like a guy going into a mall with a very short shopping list. He knew exactly what he wanted (a right-handed role hitter), searched around for it (didn't find much), and didn't get distracted window shopping (starting pitching or regular hitters).
When Dombrowski didn't find what he needed at the price he wanted, he got out. He didn't need to take it to the 4 p.m. ET Deadline. By about 3:30, he said, he took a few texts and calls, but he was done. They never came close to a deal.
"No, not close," Dombrowski said Tuesday afternoon from the visiting dugout at Fenway Park. "We had numerous conversations today, but nothing of major consequence. We were looking if we were going to get a right-handed hitter at some point. That was really our focus, and I don't think we ever really came close."
Nor, Dombrowski said, did it ever really expand beyond the right-handed hitting role player they were looking for, despite reports.
"We were not looking for major [deals]. We made our major deal," Dombrowski said, referring to last week's trade with the Miami Marlins for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
"We're happy with our ballclub. You tweak it if you can, but it wasn't like some of the clubs that were looking to fill a hole here. I mean, we had filled our holes with Sanchez and Infante, so we're happy with our club as it shapes up and we think we can win the way we are."
That alone doesn't eliminate them from the August trade market, in which players must clear waivers before they can be traded. But Dombrowski all but closed off that speculation before it could begin.
"I'm not looking to add," he said. "This is our club. The distraction of the trading deadline is over, and our distraction is the same as everybody else's, but this is our club."
Even if the Tigers had made a move, this would have been their club. Though reports suggested they were looking at a major addition with a bat, Dombrowski said that wasn't the case. He specifically denied rumors they were in talks with the Cubs for former All-Star outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who still has significant money left on his contract.
"We never discussed him one time during this whole time period," Dombrowski said. "His name never came up one time, the whole trading period, not once. So wherever that came from, whatever source that was -- I heard that, too -- that was not accurate.
"Now, I will say, just like a lot of clubs, we did speak with the Cubs, but I never spoke about Soriano."
Chicago had another hitter that did fit the profile of Detroit's needs in Reed Johnson, a veteran right-handed-hitting outfielder who has been a role player with the Cubs. However, they traded him to the Braves on Monday night along with pitcher Paul Maholm for a package of prospects.
"We were talking about extra guys in some places, some of them part of other deals," Dombrowski said. "Other general managers had bigger deals going on, wondering if that guy was going to be part of it. So I never really thought it was that close."
The way Dombrowski characterized the trade market, Johnson was one of the few right-handed hitters who were traded. Dombrowski called it a "minimal pool."
A multitude of factors played into that, from the added number of teams in contention thanks to the second Wild Card spot to the fact that those players don't usually carry contracts that teams feel they have to unload.
"If you look at what we're talking about, there weren't very many right-handed hitters that were traded," Dombrowski said. "When you see it, there were just not that many people out there, and I've been saying that all along.
"That's why when we made the Infante deal to plug in at second base there, a guy that hits from the right-hand side but is an everyday second baseman, that was important for us. I mean, really, our everyday lineup is pretty much our everyday lineup at this point."