Dave Dombrowski Downplays Detroit Tigers’ Closer Search


Yesterday evening, Jon Heyman posted this tweet suggesting that the Tigers were in the midst of a mad search to acquire a closer.

But yesterday Dave Dombrowski downplayed the urgency of the search. In an article posted this morning, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News quoted Dombrowski as saying the “closer search” is him “just doing his job“.

"It (discussions with teams or scouts) doesn’t mean anything now. It just means you’re doing your job.“It’s a little early for hard-pressed conversations.”"

March 3, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex, Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I absolutely believe the Tigers are calling around to check on the availability of closers around the league, but I don’t think that means the team is in all-out panic mode internally. They came into the spring with hopes that Bruce Rondon could seize the job, but the fact that it hasn’t yet worked out that way can’t be surprising to them – chances were probably never better than 50-50 that they would.

Both Dombrowski and Jim Leyland have been quoted multiple times saying they’re comfortable with other internal options should Rondon need more time to develop, and they’re still sticking to that story. From the same Henning article:

"He spoke of Joaquin Benoit, Al Alburquerque, Octavio Dotel, Brayan Villarreal, and Phil Coke, all of whom the Tigers insist could become part of a ninth-inning mix should Rondon need more time in the minors."

The Tigers are out there looking at “closers” but that doesn’t mean they’re looking to sell the farm just to get a “ninth inning guy” in place.

National media members – especially those that largely make their names breaking trade information and rumors – have an incentive to report and (probably) play up any sort of trade buzz around the industry. For now I’m going to believe more of the Dombrowski side of the story – that they’re simply looking, because that’s their job – rather than the national story – that they’re in a mad rush to find something, anything.