Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers Links 12/6/13: Nathan makes team better in close games & Ray “key” to the Fister deal


With Joe Nathan, other moves, Detroit Tigers better equipped to win close games - Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press

Last year’s team was built for blowouts. The Tigers were 33-15 in games decided by five runs or more. But the Tigers struggled in close games. They were 20-26 in one-run games, and they were 6-13 in extra innings.

That should change. This new team is built for close, white-knuckle affairs. The kind you see in the playoffs.

Dave Dombrowski: Detroit Tigers not likely to make another major free-agent signing this offseason - Chris Iott, MLive

“There’s a difference between signing a player for a year at some dollars and then signing guys for six or seven years, and where you think they may be in their careers,” Dombrowski said. “We just were in a situation where we created some flexibility and all of a sudden you have to be careful that you don’t tie your hands in regards to flexibility, too.”

“We’ll just wait and see what takes place,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll have conversations with clubs. There are some free agents out there. Again, it’s Dec. 4, but I don’t anticipate any of the major names that are being thrown out there.”

Dave Dombrowski: Joaquin Benoit not a fit for Detroit Tigers, Bruce Rondon could be setup man - Iott

“The person we’re hoping to really step up for us once again — and we really think he’s capable of doing it — is Bruce Rondon,” Dombrowski said. “He’s healthy. Feeling good. We look at him as a potential eighth-inning guy, and the rest of the bullpen will fall into place after that.”

“I don’t see Joaquin coming back as a setup guy. No,” Dombrowski said. “I think somebody will sign him, by all indications, as a closer, so I don’t see that as a fit for us.”

Tigers’ payroll update: makeover may keep the team together - Patrick O’Kennedy, Bless You Boys

Dombrowski also spoke of keeping the core of the team together, and that strongly suggests that they will make every effort to retain Cabrera and Scherzer going forward. You can guesstimate that Scherzer will look for a multi year contract in the range of 20- 25 million per year, and Cabrera will be looking for 28- 30 million.

Detroit Tigers lefty prospect Robbie Ray is ‘key to the deal - Anthony Fenech, Free Press

“We think this guy is a premium, young, left-handed pitcher on the verge of pitching in the big leagues,” Dombrowski said. “They’re not easy to find.”

Ray, 22, is a strikeout pitcher, Dombrowski said, and one that features a mid-90s fastball, curveball and change-up. He most recently compiled a 3.36 ERA between High-A and Double-A, and has a 4.29 ERA over four big league seasons.

Dombrowski said Ray was “a key to the deal,” because of the organization’s lack of big-league-ready starting pitching depth.

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