Dombrowski proud of work with Tigers, but not satisfied as camp approaches
7:28 PM, Feb 5, 2013
DETROIT - One week from today, pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in Lakeland as the Tigers begin their 2013 season.
Dave Dombrowski met with the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association at Hockeytown Cafe Tuesday to address questions for the last time before heading out for camp.
The Tigers CEO, President, and General Manager looked back on his time in charge of the team, and recalled his main goal 12 years ago to make Detroit a destination for free agents.
"Players wouldn't call us back," he said, referring to his first years in Detroit.
"The reality is, a lot of players want to come here because they believe we have a chance to win."
Torii Hunter and Anibal Sanchez signed long-term deals this offseason, only months after the Tigers reached their second consecutive American League Championship Series - and their second World Series in Dombrowski's tenure.
Their deals come a year after Prince Fielder surprised the baseball world and signed a $214 million contract with the Tigers.
As great as a World Series trip is, Dombrowski said the goal remains the same.
"We want to win a World Championship."
Rondon gets a vote of confidence
Questions raised from the crowd contained no surprises, and centered around the few uncertainties with the current roster.
Dombrowski puts his mark on closer talk: "I think (rookie Bruce) Rondon will handle it fine. But that's me."
Porecello vs. Smyly, Ch. 1
He was understandably high on the first four starting pitchers, and added: "Number five will be strong: either Porcello or Smyly." He reiterated his thoughts from an interview earlier in the winter, saying Porcello has a leg up because of experience.
Dombrowski acknowledged having six starters is a good problem and either pitcher will put the team in a good spot to succeed.
Dirks gets the start, for now
In left field, he said Brennan Boesch would "have to win the job," as Andy Dirks has the spot now. Dombrowski says the Tigers are still evaluating if Dirks is an everyday player.
He did point out Dirks' ability - and success - to hit right-handed pitching last season.
Young guns need to find a home
Dombrowski said the team's two major prospects, Avisail Garcia and Nick Castellanos "are not going to come up and play 30-40 games. They'll go to Triple-A to start. A decision we have to make."
Basically, it seems like Dombrowski is married to the idea of both players getting a full season of quality at-bats. He said Castellanos is developing as a better fielder, but is a "great hitter."
Martinez's progress continues
Victor Martinez is as thrilled as anyone to be back at camp this spring, but he's taking his excitement to ask for more. Martinez has been pushing to catch a little bit this season.
Dombrowski laughed at the request, and said he's the team's everyday designated hitter. Martinez will, according to Dombrowski, play first base "once every two months," when Prince Fielder takes a rare day off in the field.
World Baseball Classic and the Tigers
Many of the Tigers turned down the World Baseball Classic, and despite the fact players will leave camps to play in the tournament, Dombrowski said his concerns are minimal.
"I really don't have a problem with Miguel Cabrera leaving. Verlander, the same thing. Young guys worry me more."
Hall of Fame votes
Dombrowski stayed away from commenting on the steroid-centered players and their Hall of Fame credentials, leaving that talk, instead, "for the commissioner."
He did point out that he believes Jack Morris is a "Hall of Fame pitcher," and Alan Trammell deserves a spot in Cooperstown.