The Free Press is reporting that the Tigers have made an offer to Fernando Vina. Vina is coming off an injury shortened 61 game season. However, he is a career .284 hitter with a .350 OBA. He’s 34 and made $5.3 million last year and it is believed to be a two year offer that the Tigers have made. ESPN is reporting that Vina is leaning towards signing with the Cubs. ESPN also is reporting that the Tigers are interested in Rich Aurilia should he not be offered arbitration by the Giants. The Red Sox may also be pursuing him.
With the Tigers pursuing Aurilia and Vina, it reveals a little bit about what their strategy is (or at least what I think it may be). The Tigers aren’t looking for players who will help them win a World Series. They are targeting veteran players who will help the team improve in the short term, to bridge the gap so to speak. What’s more important is that they are going after players that they feel will be tradeable. Dombrowski was yearning to trade veterans for prospects last summer, but he didn’t have the veterans to trade. His veterans weren’t good enough and made too much money for too long. If the Tigers can sign Aurilia or Vina to a short term contract, even if they have to overpay a little, they could finally have something to offer playoff contenders. Now this strategy isn’t without risk. If the Tigers do get these types of players, and then can’t trade them who do they turn to in two years to take the reins? The Tigers don’t really have any 2B or SS prospects throughout the minors. Of course this is all a bit premature because the Tigers haven’t actually signed these guys yet, and that in itself would be a major coup for Dombrowski.
In other news, Kevin Witt signed a minor league deal with St. Louis and Adam Pettyjohn inked a minor league deal with San Francisco.