Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski is a self-assured man.
From his wardrobe to the trades he pulls off — and everything in between — there’s an aura of boldness surrounding him, which allowed him to take a 119-loss team and quickly reverse its fortunes.
That’s why within the next 10 days — MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline is July 31 — Dombrowski will wheel and deal to make the Tigers better. I’m not sure what he’s going to pull off, but I do know it’ll be something completely unexpected.
Why do I believe this? His record speaks for itself.
Since last season’s non-waiver deadline, Dombrowski has made three major deals.
— One of his transactions has worked out extremely well for the Tigers: Ian Kinsler for cash and Prince Fielder.
— Another one, at least for now, has been a disaster: Ian Krol, Steve Lombardozzi and Robbie Ray for Doug Fister.
— And the success of his other exchange — Jose Iglesias for Avisail Garcia and Brayan Villarreal — depends on whether Iglesias’ fractured shins completely heal.
What these three deals all have in common is, they were all unexpected.
Iglesias-to-Detroit was never part of any trade-deadline speculation. Fielder’s contract supposedly anchored him in Detroit. And it was Rick Porcello, not Fister, whom the Tigers were reportedly shopping around.
If we’ve learned anything about Dombrowski, he keeps it all close to the vest, and when he strikes, it’s an eye-opener. Heck, Detroit signing Fielder came out of nowhere.
Granted, owner Mike Ilitch’s wallet has given Dombrowski a significant resource, and sometimes Dombrowski might be told to initiate a move. But he’s the man who does all the negotiating.
Call me crazy, but Dombrowski should go for it all when it comes to this year’s trade deadline.
Detroit needs help in three areas: bullpen, left side of the infield and a left-handed hitter.
The bullpen will definitely be addressed. Joaquin Benoit makes the most sense because the Tigers are familiar with him, and although they likely won’t publicly admit it, they never should have let him leave.
Another arm for the bullpen would be helpful, too, but acquiring a left-handed hitter is essential. Ideally, a solid left-handed-hitting shortstop/third baseman could solve two major concerns.
The Tigers would probably have to give up a player or two from their current roster and a few prospects to make a deal like that happen, but it’s a price worth paying.
Look, the Tigers are a team on the cusp of winning it all. They have as good a shot as any team to be World Series champions, but they have holes to patch.
Those holes will become their downfall during the playoffs, and no one understands that more than Dombrowski, who’s come too far with this core roster not to go all out and make moves that will put the Tigers over the top.
He will do something big within the next 10 days. That parts a given.
Now exactly what Dombrowski does? That will very likely be another surprise.