The Detroit Tigers are off to a fast start in what was expected to be an exciting off-season. While the early news of a contract extension for Brandon Inge and the likely resigning of Jhonny Peralta won’t do much to drive an increase in ticket sales, it appears to me to put the Tigers in a position to make the move that will.
General manager Dave Dombrowski was quick to publicly declare his interest in retaining Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta and make it clear that Jeremy Bonderman and Johnny Damon would be better served to begin the search for new employers. Honestly, such definitive statements surprised me so early in the game as Dombrowski has always seemed reserved and calculated in what information he lets out. It now makes sense to me as I see a two-step process in the works.
Dombrowski showed his early statement regarding personnel were not empty words by already reaching a contract extension with Brandon Inge and it appears that a new deal for Jhonny Peralta may be just around the corner. The organization knew who they wanted to keep around and they are doing their job to wrap up that phase of the off-season as quickly as possible. With their in-house business in order, the Tigers can turn their full attention from phase one to phase two: the big fish.
The Tigers were known to have interest in Adam Dunn at the trade deadline last year and figure to at least kick the tires this off-season. Victor Martinez‘s name has come up on a couple of occasions already. Now we have word that the Tigers will be one of the teams aggressively pursuing Carl Crawford. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has heard it from major-league sources and reported it earlier today:
"Much of the early Carl Crawford talk centers around the Red Sox and Angels.But don’t rule out the Tigers making a strong run.The Tigers, too, are deeply interested in Crawford as a free agent, according to major-league sources."
The Tigers will obviously not land all three players, but hearing them linked to three of the market’s top free agents gives strong validation to our speculation that the Tigers would be players. Add on top of that the aggressiveness they have shown in retaining players already in the fold and the Tigers are obviously not going to simply submit a couple offers, they are preparing to put on the full-court press.
All of the targets we have heard about so far have their pluses and minuses but when the dust settles it looks good that Tigers fans will have something to smile about.