Tigers Pursued James Shields

The Tigers seriously pursued James Shields before the Royals acquired him, Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com report (Twitter link). Earlier today in a Twitter chat with fans Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski said the team is comfortable relying on Drew Smyly in the fifth rotation spot for 2013.

The Tigers offered outfielder Avisail Garcia and other prospects, Knobler reports. Though the Rays like Garcia, they preferred the Royals' offer, which included top prospect Wil Myers.

Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello project as the Tigers' top four starters for 2013. The club has also had interest in bringing back free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez. As Jason Beck of MLB.com explained today, the team's interest in keeping Sanchez reaches a decisive point now that Zack Greinke has agreed to terms.

Dombrowski also said his top priority would be to find “the correct right handed bat for the outfield” (all Twitter links). Though it’d be helpful for the Tigers to find someone whose skills complement the left-handed hitting Andy Dirks, it’s noteworthy that Dombrowski didn’t mention pitching. He did say the Tigers are open to adding another left-hander to the bullpen. However, when it comes to late inning relief, the Tigers sound confident in prospect Bruce Rondon. “He is a rare talent that I feel has a chance to close for us this year,” Dombrowski said.

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