Dombrowski On Verlander, Raburn, Worth, Betemit

Justin Verlander won the the 2011 American League Cy Young Award unanimously and he gets an extra — though unofficial — vote from Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. 

"He's a real special player who means a lot to our community," Dombrowski explained at the MLB General Manager Meetings in Milwaukee. "He's been a Tiger since the day he was drafted and he'll be with us for a long time."

Verlander would have been a free agent this offseason had he not signed his current five-year, $80MM contract before the 2010 season. There's no telling what Verlander would have been worth coming off a season like this, so it's no surprise Dombrowski's glad to have locked the right-hander up for three of his free agent seasons. 

Looking ahead to 2012, the Tigers want to get Ryan Raburn's bat in the lineup and may play him at second base at times next year. Danny Worth is another second base candidate for the Tigers, who are also weighing external options.

Wilson Betemit met Dombrowski's expectations after joining the Tigers in a midseason trade, but the GM anticipates adding an extra catcher this offseason, which will limit the Tigers' roster flexibility in 2012. The Tigers haven't pursued Betemit aggressively to this point and Dombrowski didn't suggest that will change. The Tigers want to keep Victor Martinez in the everyday lineup, so adding a backup for Alex Avila is on the agenda this winter.


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