Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde (David Richard-US PRESSWIRE)
(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Detroit Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski met with the media for a season-ending state-of-the-ballclub news conference today at Comerica Park .
Dombrowski said he doesn't plan to bring back American League Championship Series MVP Delmon Young nor closer Jose Valverde next season.
He does hope to sign starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, although he acknowledged that it will be a tough pursuit.
He also left open the door to bring back Gerald Laird as the backup catcher. Dombrowski said the team otherwise would be comfortable with Bryan Holaday in that role.
With Victor Martinez set to be the team's designated hitter next season, Dombrowski said there was no role for Young.
"We look at him primarily as a DH at this time," Dombrowski said. "Victor is sliding into that. ... And so there's really not a spot for Delmon Young at this time."
Dombrowski said he thanked Valverde for his performance with the club over the years.
"Very fine individual, brought a lot to the clubhouse," Dombrowski said. "Great person. Despite a tough finish, really did a fine job for us throughout his career. But I think, in our situation right now, we'll see how our bullpen mixes with some of our other needs."
Dombrowski said he feels comfortable with Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Brayan Villarreal and Al Alburquerque returning.
The club earlier in the day announced that manager Jim Leyland would return for another season and that the club has exercised a $6-million option to bring back shortstop Jhonny Peralta and a $3.5-million option on Dotel.
"I would not discount Bruce Rondon in the competition for our closer role next year," Dombrowski said of the highly regarded prospect.
Dombrowski said he wasn't anointing Rondon the closer, but added, "You would not believe the number of clubs that call me about Rondon."
Dombrowski also said he planned to tender a contract to outfielder Brennan Boesch, who had a disappointing season and was left off the team's 25-man roster throughout the playoffs.
"He's not where we would like him to be at this point," said Dombrowski, who added that they feel he still has "some untapped potential."
Asked why it took so long to announce that Leyland would return, Dombrowski said he and Leyland previously agreed they would not discuss his future until after the season. Dombrowski did say that, throughout the season, he knew Leyland had the desire to keep managing and he anticipated that Leyland would agree to return.
In addition to Leyland, all of the coaches will return, with Toby Harrah set to reprise his role as an assistant hitting coach.
Dombrowski acknowledged there have been discussions about putting the coaches in new roles, but he would not get into specifics. Third-base coach Gene Lamont has drawn the ire of fans on more than one occasion.
Detroit Free Press