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The Tigers' Offseason

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch appears willing to spend some money this offseason to return his team to prominence.  Let's take a look at the team's commitments and needs.

The Tigers would have a payroll in the $65MM range if they filled all their needs internally.  This club could easily add $50MM worth of 2011 salaries to the payroll during the offseason.

At catcher, Gerald Laird and Alex Avila have split time this year.  Avila could take on a larger role in Laird's absence.  In that case GM Dave Dombrowski could just bring in a veteran backup.  If Dombrowski changes his mind, Victor Martinez is the big name on the free agent market.

Aside from Miguel Cabrera at first base, the Tigers' infield picture is uncertain.  Carlos Guillen and Ramon Santiago are signed, while Scott Sizemore, Will Rhymes, and Don Kelly may play roles.  The free agent market offers plenty of middling veterans, but the one big name will be third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Outfield holdovers will include Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Ryan Raburn, and Kelly.  If Magglio Ordonez and Johnny Damon depart, the Tigers could be in the outfield market.  Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth are the premium choices.

The rotation needs work, with question marks after Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.  Maybe the Tigers will join the Cliff Lee bidding, but otherwise secondary hurlers like Jorge de la Rosa, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Carl Pavano, and Javier Vazquez might help.  The problem is that not all of those guys translate well to the American League.  The Tigers' bullpen might only require tinkering.

The Tigers have a ton of money to spend this winter, but their needs are abundant too.  Dombrowski will need to break his recent pattern of avoiding multiyear free agent deals if he's to bring in any top free agents.  Of course, he does have a penchant for big trades.


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