In terms of what the Tigers needed on team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski's list, it was pretty much what he expected.
"I think your job is that you're always keeping pulse of what's taking place, and if you can get better," Dombrowski said. "But in reality, we have made our major moves. ... Our club is pretty well set. It's pretty well solidified."
These Winter Meetings, Dombrowski indicated, were the time for the Tigers to look at what they could do, not anything they needed to do. They talked with clubs to see if any moves might have potential, and they fielded some inquiries for players, believed to include Brennan Boesch and Ramon Santiago. They had some limited talks with free agents at different positions. But in terms of filling real needs, this wasn't much of a hunt.
They've certainly explored the possibility of a defensive upgrade at shortstop, but they already have a regular in Jhonny Peralta. They've looked at some relief possibilities, but their bullpen is pretty deep as it is. Depending on how one views their approach at closer, the holes aren't glaring.
"I think when you come here, you're always eager to do something. You'd like to do things, because everybody's around," Dombrowski said. "And there's been groundwork set for things. But the reality is, we really weren't looking to do that much. When we signed [Torii] Hunter and you get [Victor] Martinez back, we're pretty well set. We talked about the bullpen scenario, so there's really not a lot jumping out there.
"I think that some of the things that we talked about with clubs are also affected by the free agents out there. Some clubs are not ready to make trades yet. And so, [not] until some of the free-agent signings settle does that kind of set the trade [market]."
That sets up what amounts to the second half of the Hot Stove season, when the Tigers have tended to make moves in recent years. The bullpen market, closer and otherwise, could especially fit that timetable, and it's hard to rule out the Tigers swooping in to make a signing there. But at a time when big contracts come out, the Tigers aren't in a position where their needs require paying retail prices.
Deal done: Traded LHP Andy Oliver to Pittsburgh for C Ramon Cabrera.
Rule 5 Draft activity: The Tigers picked up two Rule 5 selections for the first time since 2004, both of them players they had targeted. Detroit traded for left-hander Kyle Lobstein in a cash trade with the Mets, and sent infielder Justin Henry to the Red Sox for speedy second baseman Jeff Kobernus. Lobstein could end up being an insurance starter or second lefty reliever, while Kobernus will compete for a utility role on the roster.
Goals accomplished: Nothing much, but they didn't come in with urgent needs anyway. The Kobernus addition gives them the potential for another speedy baserunner, while Lobstein adds some potential starting depth in case of injuries in camp.
Unfinished business: The Tigers might continue exploring their options at shortstop with free agent Stephen Drew still on the market, but it might require the kind of a multi-year deal the Tigers don't want. They'll see what's left of the relief market after the holidays, though Dombrowski said it'll take the right fit for them to add a closer.
Team's bottom line: "Our club is pretty well set. We're pretty well solidified." -- Dombrowski