Dombrowski: Tigers likely out on big-ticket free agents

Dombrowski: Tigers likely out on big-ticket free agents

Dombrowski: Tigers likely out on big-ticket free agents

DETROIT -- Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski spent the last few weeks listing closer as his top priority and avoiding talk about other needs until the club filled the role. Now that the Tigers have their closer in Joe Nathan, Dombrowski did not sound inclined for another big-ticket signing.

"I would think that we would not be involved in the big [names on the free-agent market]," he said.

It doesn't mean the Tigers aren't looking for help in left field, as has been rumored in recent days. But while Dombrowski wouldn't address potential free agents by name, he downplayed reports the Tigers were targeting top remaining outfield free agents Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran to bolster their offense.

"Again, we're on December 5," Dombrowski cautioned, "but I don't anticipate any of the major names that are being thrown out there with names attached. I don't anticipate those being our signing."

Dombrowski said the Tigers were not involved in the bidding on Jacoby Ellsbury, who reportedly agreed to terms on a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees. And in discussing what else they could do to bolster their offense, he seemed to strongly hint that the club did not want to get into another megacontract such as that of the Prince Fielder deal that they just took off their books with his trade to Texas.

"There's a difference between signing players for a year at some dollars and then signing guys for six or seven years, and where you think they may be in their careers," Dombrowski said. "We just were in a situation where we created some flexibility, and all of a sudden you have to be careful that you don't tie your hands in regards to flexibility, too."

With top prospect Nick Castellanos now at third, Andy Dirks would be the starting left fielder if the season started tomorrow. The Tigers' easiest fix, Dombrowski pointed out, would be Dirks returning to his 2012 form after knee problems hampered him for parts of this past season.

Nonetheless, Dombrowski said they'll look for help. It just might not be top-tier help.

"I'm sure we'll have to do something in some regards, because we don't have anybody else," Dombrowski said. "We're sort of limited in our outfielders at this time on our roster, because we've got Torii [Hunter] and Austin [Jackson] and Andy with Donnie Kelly being able to play out there, but we'll have to look at something to assist us in left field, and we'll see what that is."

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.