By: Jeff Riger
Wednesday afternoon the Tigers made it official they had signed free agent closer Joe Nathan — and I think Nathan is just what the doctor ordered. It means Detroit finally has a true closer who can pitch on consecutive nights, get guys out consistently and wants desperately to be here.
But, it wasn’t the Nathan announcement that I found the most interesting from the press conference.
Instead it was the admission by President and GM Dave Dombrowski that the team was essentially done spending for the season. Dombrowski shot down reports of getting guys like Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran and made it very clear that the Tigers will not be players in the free agent market for the rest of the offseason.
Of course Dombrowski also said Prince Fielder was not coming here and look what happened. But I believe him this time.
If Dombrowski is right and Detroit doesn’t add another big name piece; you have to wonder if the 2014 team is better than last season’s squad.
The Tigers have said goodbye to the likes of Doug Fister, Prince Fielder, Omar Infante, Jhonny Peralta and Joaquin Benoit and have added just Ian Kinsler, Ian Krol and Nathan.
Am I missing someone?
Yes, Nick Castellanos will be the everyday 3rd baseman and there will be some new faces in the bullpen, but for the most part Detroit has given away an awful lot and despite the payroll being similar, they haven’t received as much in return.
Dombrowski even admitted that Andy Dirks is his current leftfielder…
I asked Dombrowski if he believes that this year’s team is just as good as or better than last years.
“Well I can’t say better, but I can also say as good,” Dombrowski said. “This club has a chance to win a championship, that’s how we feel about it, we like our club.”
“We’re a little bit different because we’re a little more athletic than we used to be. We’re going to play a little better defense, we may not score as many runs,” Dombrowski continued.
I understand that Dombrowski can’t go on record and say anything other than what he did, he has to stick up for his team and send the right message; but it’s fair to question if he really believes what he’s selling?
Being more athletic and addressing defensive needs are things that fans have clamored for, and everybody loved the idea of trading away Fielder, but if this is the final product, I can’t help but to feel underwhelmed. Yes, anything can happen even when we were told it wouldn’t before and maybe this time is no different. Maybe there are more players on the way.
I just wouldn’t bet on it this time.
Watch the entire video as Dombrowski answers the question about whether this year’s team is better than last year’s. When you’re done watching, let me know what your answer is in comments below.