The Detroit Tigers didn't waste any time on exercising their options on two players.
By DANA WAKIJIFS Detroit
DETROIT — In addition to bringing back manager Jim Leyland, the
Tigers announced some additional moves on Tuesday.
First, they picked up the options for right-hander Octavio Dotel and shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
"He's getting older, but he still threw the ball well," president and general manager Dave Dombrowki said of Dotel. "His arm strength is getting good.
"It's for one year. The outspoken nature, he's a good guy, he spoke his mind and what he felt. We didn't have any problem with that."
Dotel, 38, went 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 57 games in the regular season. He struck out 62 in 58 innings, limiting opponents to a .230 average against.
After Game 4, Dotel expressed his desire to return.
"I'm very excited and I hope they pick my option," he said. "If you see it, we got an unbelievable starting rotation right now.
"I would love to come back here. This is the team I want to be with in 2013."
As for Peralta, he had a bit of a down year compared to his career year in 2011, when he hit .299 with 21 home runs and 86 RBI. In 2012, he hit .239 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI. In the postseason, Peralta hit .260 with a double, three home runs and five RBI in 13 games.
"He did a solid job for us, of course, last year, 2011 ... better than 2012 from an offensive perspective," Dombrowski said. "He's been a solid guy, pretty much consistent."
Dombrowski also mentioned that in the second half of the season, Peralta did more agility drills that seemed to help him with the quickness of his feet, which Peralta planned to continue to work on in the offseason.
Leyland was happy that both players were returning.
"I think they both did a good job," Leyland said. "There’s no perfect players. They’re very contributing players to our team, and I think they can be very contributing players in the future. So I’m very happy with that.
"That’s a decision that Dave (Dombrowski) made that we talked about. I’m really tickled about it."
Valverde, Young won't return
Dombrowski said that the Tigers didn't plan to try to re-sign free agents Jose Valverde and Delmon Young. Dombrowski also indicated that Gerald Laird is unlikely to return.
"He's done a very good job for us over the last three years," Dombrowski said of Valverde. "Very fine individual, brought a lot to the clubhouse, great person, and despite a tough finish, really did a fine job for us throughout his career."
Valverde saved 110-of-118 chances in his three seasons with the Tigers, including a perfect 49-for-49 in 2011.
Unfortunately, Valverde had a disastrous postseason this year, with just one save in two chances and an ERA of 30.37.
"It was a factor, but I don't think it was by any means a finishing factor for us," Dombrowski said. "It finalized our decision. I think we had pretty much come to that conclusion that was the direction we were going to go before that."
Leyland was sorry to see Valverde go.
"He was one of the best teammates I ever managed," Leyland said. "I'm really going to miss him."
At 27, Young will have his first opportunity to test the free-agent market. With his three home runs, nine RBI and .313 postseason batting average, Young is likely to get offers.
"We look at him as primarily a DH at this time," Dombrowski said. "He understood because we have Victor Martinez coming back. It's an automatic, Victor sliding into that (DH role). We feel Victor will be ready to go next season."
Dombrowski said Laird was looking for more playing time and more money, which the Tigers would not be able to provide.
"We did not close the door, but also told him it would be a situation where we thought he may as well go ahead and pursue what's out there, and we'll see what takes place," Dombrowski said. "In that spot, we do feel comfortable with Bryan Holaday as a guy that can step in and be a backup catcher."
Rondon in the mix
Unprompted, Dombrowski brought up the name Bruce Rondon when talking about potential closers for next season.
Rondon, who turns 22 in December, had 29 saves among Class-A Lakeland (15), Double-A Erie (12) and Triple-A Toledo (2) this past season, with a combined 1.53 ERA.
"We do have guys in (Joaquin) Benoit, Dotel, (Phil) Coke if we decide to mix and match some young arms with (Brayan) Villarreal and (Al) Alburquerque," Dombrowski said. "I would not discount Bruce Rondon in the competition for our closer role for next year."
Dombrowski said that that Rondon can consistently throw 100 miles an hour, peaking at 103, and also gets his breaking ball over for strikes.
Dombrowski went on to say that the Tigers considered bringing Rondon up before Sept. 1, in time to be on their postseason roster, and would have done so had they known how much Valverde would struggle.
Although one never knows how a young player will react his first time in the majors, Dombrowski seemed confident in Rondon's ability to handle it.
"I don't worry about him if he doesn't close the game because he has had that happen to him before and he's bounced back very well," Dombrowski said. "He has, to me, the perfect mentality for a closer."
Tigers want Sanchez back
Dombrowski indicated that the Tigers would make an offer to free-agent pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
Sanchez, 28, is in an enviable position. With the Tigers, he went 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA. In the postseason, he was 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA.
Those are great numbers, and Sanchez is at a perfect age for a starting pitcher.
"I had a great conversation with him (Sanchez) the other night," Leyland said. "I told him, ‘This is your chance. Chase it, be happy. I want you back.’
"That’s why they have free agency. I know he likes it here."
Leyland and Dombrowski acknowledged that a team could come up with an offer for Sanchez that they just couldn't meet. They're prepared in case that happens.
"I would say we view signing Sanchez as making us better, but I also say that we do have alternatives internally that we feel comfortable that we could use in (Rick) Porcello or (Drew) Smyly that rounded our rotation," Dombrowski said.
Other roster plans
Dombrowski said the Tigers plan to remove Don Kelly from the 40-man roster. If Kelly goes unclaimed, they will try to sign him to a minor league contract and bring him to spring training to compete for a job.
The Tigers will tender a contract to Brennan Boesch, who struggled this past season, batting .240 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI.
"We still see some untapped potential, and he has struggled some," Dombrowski said of Boesch. "He hasn't made the strides we'd like him to make. However, sometimes power hitters take longer to come about, too."
Quintin Berry will also get a chance to compete for a job in spring training.
"Quintin Berry did a real fine job for us early in the season," Dombrowski said. "He added a dimension that we don't have much, which is speed."
The Tigers reinstated Ryan Raburn from the 15-day disabled list, but did not elaborate on his future with the team.
"In Ryan's case, I'm really not prepared to address that one because I haven't talked to him," Dombrowski said.
It's unlikely Raburn will return after hitting .171 with one homer and 12 RBI in 66 games.
The Tigers also reinstated Martinez and left-hander Daniel Schlereth from the 60-day disabled list.
Coaching staff returns, but ...
Leyland's entire staff will return for the 2013 season, but the coaches might have slightly different roles than before.
"We’re going to rearrange one piece of our furniture, and it has nothing to do with anybody’s results this year or the job they did," Leyland said. "We just think it’s time, maybe, to make this move.
"I’m just not prepared to announce that today. Everybody’s been informed."
Dombrowski said Toby Harrah would remain with the big league club the entire year as the assistant hitting coach.