Magglio Ordonez not expected back
DETROIT -- Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski was so encouraged by his club's AL Central title this season he is certain a World Series championship can't be far behind.
Nearly 30 years without one is long enough.
"We think we have a chance to win, sure, if we make the right moves," Dombrowski said Tuesday.
If the Tigers are going to follow up their first division title since 1987 with their first World Series win since '84, they will likely do it without longtime stars Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen.
"We had pretty much told Magglio and Carlos during last month, that we would doubt they'd be back," Dombrowski said.
The Tigers want to add a second or third baseman by signing a veteran or trading for one, but they may end up playing Brandon Inge and Don Kelly at third. A right-handed catcher will be on the roster to give Alex Avila a break and make designated hitter Victor Martinez a third option behind the plate.
The Tigers would like to have middle infielder Ramon Santiago back, but he might make more money elsewhere in an everyday role. Dombrowski doubts he'll re-sign pitcher Brad Penny; is open to bringing back free agent third baseman Wilson Betemit later in the offseason; and says pitcher Joel Zumaya can return as a non-roster invitee.
Detroit plans to keep Delmon Young in left field, but doesn't plan to offer the arbitration-eligible player a multi-year deal in the hopes of benefiting from him being motivated by the possibility of becoming a free agent next year.
If Dombrowski can find the right veteran, preferably a left-hander, to be the team's No. 5 starter he'll sign or trade for him. If not, prospects will get a shot to complete a rotation that is led by Justin Verlander.
Detroit won the Central Division by 15 games -- the largest margin of any champion this year -- eliminated the New York Yankees in a decisive Game 5 and exited the postseason in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against Texas.
"We had a good year, there's no question," Dombrowski said. "We have a solid foundation going forward, so we're set up for the future. However, any time you don't win it all, you don't feel satisfied. We were six win short. We made strides forward, now the key for us is to take that final step and win a world championship."
Tigers star Miguel Cabrera appeared to take steps toward recovering from a problem that led to his arrest just before spring training. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, resisting an officer without violence and for having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle in a still-pending case.
"Off the field, I give him a lot of credit for the work he did," Dombrowski said. "He did everything required and he's committed to making his program work."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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