KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The story of Matt Tuiasosopo emailing teams in the offseason and finding interest from the Tigers has gotten a lot of play in the days since he went on a Spring Training tear, and reached a new level when he won the fourth outfield spot on Tuesday.
However, team officials insist they had interest long before that, and they tried to get him into a Tigers uniform last summer before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"Last year, when we were looking for a right-handed-hitting outfielder, he was one of the guys we tried to acquire," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Thursday morning.
Tuiasosopo was playing in the Mets' system at the time at Triple-A Buffalo, where Tigers pro scout Mike Russell spotted him. The Tigers eventually settled on an August trade with the Cubs for Jeff Baker, who was released less than a month later.
"We tried to get him and we couldn't acquire him," Dombrowski said. "So he was one of the guys at the top or our list for this type of role with our team. We continued to have Mike Russell's recommendations as we entered the wintertime, and it was really a coincidence that we were just starting that process, and all of a sudden I got an email from him at that point."
Dombrowski had assistant general manager Al Avila, who handles most Minor League deals, follow up.
"I'm really thankful that he sent the note," Dombrowski said, "but I will also say it's not like it came out of the blue."
Another right-handed bat the Tigers tried to acquire last summer was Kevin Russo, who was in the Yankees' system. They ended up signing him over the offseason, too, though they didn't get an email to spark the conversation.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.