Tag:Dave Dombrowski
Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:22 pm

Will La Russa return to baseball as a GM?

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Just a few months back, Tony La Russa retired.

Now he's thinking about his next job.

La Russa's visit to the Tigers spring training camp this week gave him a chance to spend time with close friend Jim Leyland, the Tigers manager. But La Russa planned the trip just as much so he could learn from Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers general manager.

His next job, the 67-year-old La Russa figures, could be as a GM.

"I might get a shot," La Russa said Thursday.

If that shot comes, La Russa wants to be prepared. Thursday, when Dombrowski came off the field after the Tigers' workout, La Russa headed to the Tiger GM's office to talk.

La Russa and Dombrowski go way back together, back to when La Russa was the White Sox manager in the 1980s, when Dombrowski worked in the White Sox's front office in his first job in baseball.

La Russa said he also plans to talk to Reds GM Walt Jocketty, who he knows well from their time together with the Cardinals. But La Russa said that out of respect to the Cardinals, who play in the same division as the Reds, he won't be helping out the Reds this spring.

With the Tigers in the American League, there's no such conflict here. But La Russa's visit was based as much on allowing him to learn as it was on anything he could do for the Tigers.

"If I get a shot [as a GM], I want to be prepared," he said.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:00 pm

Tigers give Ilitch 'one of greatest days'

Mike Ilitch has won four Stanley Cups with the Red Wings. His Tigers made it to the World Series in 2006, before losing to the Cardinals.

And yet, when the Tigers won Game 5 Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, Ilitch told general manager Dave Dombrowski: "This is one of the greatest days of my life."

That says something about what it means to win an elimination game against the Yankees -- on the road.

But it also says a lot about the 82-year-old Ilitch, and what motivates him. For all his hockey success, he badly wants to win in baseball. He wants to win a World Series before he dies.

I've had my differences with Ilitch over the year. I've criticized him at least as much as I've praised him (probably a lot more).

But he sure does care about winning.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 2:18 pm

On Fister, Dombrowski refused to accept 'no'

NEW YORK -- The first time Dave Dombrowski asked about Doug Fister, Jack Zduriencik said no, he's not available.

And the second time, and the third time, and . . .

How many times was it, Dave, a dozen?

"At least," Dombrowski said.

Twenty? Twenty-five?

"Probably," Dombrowski said. "Over a three-week period, we called a couple of times a day. Sometimes three times."

Zduriencik, the Mariners general manager, kept saying no. Dombrowski, the Tigers general manager, refused to take no for an answer.

"He opened the door at times, and then he would close it," Dombrowski said. "As long as it was open a little, we kept trying."

Eventually, on the day before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Tigers got Fister and David Pauley in exchange for four young players.

Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA, so you could say that Dombrowski's persistence is the reason the Tigers are in the playoffs. With Friday night's rain, Fister will in effect start two games in the Division Series against the Yankees, so you could say that he is the Tigers' best chance for advancing.

Fister will pick up for Justin Verlander when Game 1 resumes in the middle of the second inning Saturday night. If the series goes the five-game distance, Fister is now on schedule to start the deciding game.

And all because when Zduriencik said no, Dombrowski kept trying. And trying.

One Tigers person said he had never seen Dombrowski so determined to get a deal done. Dombrowski said he could only compare it to his pursuit of Mike Lowell in the summer and fall of 1995, when Lowell was with the Yankees and Dombrowski was running the Marlins.

"I worked on that one for six months," he said.

The Tigers identified Fister early, deciding that the combination of his ability and his contract status (he can't be a free agent until after 2015) made him the right fit. The Tigers looked at every pitcher who was or might be available (they made a try for James Shields, but Rays GM Andrew Friedman gave them a firmer "no" than Zduriencik did), but for most of the month, Fister was their top target.

In fact Tigers people insist, they preferred Fister to Ubaldo Jimenez, even if the price for the two had been the same (which it wasn't).

Their first offer for Fister, sources say, included none of the four players who were eventually in the deal (Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Francisco Martinez and Chance Ruffin). No one can remember how many other permutations were offered before Zduriencik agreed.

What does seem certain is that the Tigers were the one team that wasn't scared off when Zduriencik said no. Plenty of teams needed pitching, but no one else tried nearly as hard for Fister.

In the end, the Tigers thought they gave up a lot. They view Martinez as a future star at third base, think Ruffin has a chance to pitch very well in the big leagues and view Wells as a potential starting outfielder.

"I guess I'm old school," Dombrowski said. "You don't try to 'win' a trade."

And, apparently, you don't take no for an answer.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 4:02 pm

Tigers picked right time to extend Dombrowski

In a trade market woefully short on starting pitchers, Dave Dombrowski found a guy who has gone 5-1 in eight starts, with a 2.28 ERA. In an August waiver market that was marked by a lack of movement, Dombrowski found an outfielder who has hit .324 with 20 RBI in 26 games.

Sounds like a guy Tom Ricketts ought to want as general manager of the Cubs, especially given Dombrowski's strong Chicago ties.

One problem with that: Dombrowski just signed a four-year contract extension last month.

Maybe Mike Ilitch was more aware than we give him credit for.

The Tigers owner surprised even some in his own front office by the timing of the extensions he gave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland. After allowing both to start the season with expiring contracts, Ilitch chose to announce extensions for both on Aug. 8, when the Tigers were just eight games over .500 and held only a four-game lead in the American League Central.

Five weeks later, the Tigers are the hottest team in baseball, with a 10-game winning streak and magic numbers of five (over the White Sox) and six (over the Indians) to clinch the AL Central. Trade acquisition Doug Fister has pitched so well that he may be the Tigers' No. 2 starter in the playoffs, behind Justin Verlander. Trade acquisition Delmon Young has hit so well that he's the Tigers' third hitter and has kept them from thinking too much about Brennan Boesch's injury.

And Dombrowski isn't going anywhere.

Now there's no certainty Ricketts would have tried to hire Dombrowski, even if he was available. And even if Dombrowski were working without an extension now, there's no reason to believe he'd have had any real interest in leaving.

But don't you think Ilitch and the Tigers feel more comfortable not needing to worry about it?

Category: MLB
Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 1:37 pm

It's about winning it all, and Hendry didn't

We joke about the Cubs and the World Series.

Jim Hendry knew it was no joke. He knew that his job was to end the drought, just as it was Dusty Baker's job, and Lou Piniella's job, and Sammy Sosa's job.

At times, he'd even admit that if his Cubs didn't end the drought soon, ownership would have every right to find someone else to do it.

The drought continues, and now the Cubs will find someone else.

Friday's announcement that the Cubs have fired Hendry as general manager should come as no surprise, despite a few suggestions this summer that the Ricketts family liked Hendry. It shouldn't surprise us, and it can't surprise Hendry.

He had nine years to end a 103-year drought, and he couldn't do it.

In his first full season, the Cubs came within a game of getting to the World Series. In 2007, they won the National League Central. In 2008, they won 97 games and entered the playoffs as one of the World Series favorites.

They went through an ownership change that paralyzed the organization, but that's not enough of an excuse. He had plenty of money to spend, and in too many cases, he spent it poorly.

As he said Friday, "I got more than my fair chance."

It's time for someone else to try.

Who will that be?

The Cubs announced that Randy Bush, Hendry's assistant, will fill in as the interim GM. But theyre expected to hire someone else for the full-time job.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that he will begin the search immediately, and said he wants to find someone who is strong in player development, has an analytical background and comes from a winning culture.

There has been speculation in baseball that Pat Gillick could be headed to Chicago, but Gillick's friends say he wouldn't want to be a general manager again. Gillick apparently would be open to a job as club president, but Ricketts said Friday: "The new general manager will report directly to me."

Other names that are sure to come up are White Sox assistant Rick Hahn, who interviewed last year for the Mets job; Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who grew up in the Chicago area and got his start in baseball many years ago with the Cubs; Yankees GM Brian Cashman, whose contract runs out at the end of the year (but is considered unlikely to leave); possibly Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, who has been more prominently mentioned in Houston; former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, working as an advisor with the Rays (and could also be a possibility in Houston); Rangers assistant Thad Levine; Blue Jays assistant Tony LaCava; and A's assistant David Forst.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, a Chicago native, could well have been on the list, except that he just signed a four-year extension to remain in Detroit.

By this winter, there will likely be other GM openings, as well. Andy MacPhail is thought to be on his way out with the Orioles (either by his choice, ownership's or both), and it's expected that incoming Astros owner Jim Crane will replace Ed Wade. It's also possible that there could be a change in Seattle, where Jack Zduriencik's team is having another disappointing season.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington is also in the final year of his contract, and while he is expected to stay, the team's recent slump has caused some people to wonder what will happen.

Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 12:50 pm

Tigers extend Leyland, Dombrowski

With the trade deadline behind us, August is the month to speculate on managers and general managers who could lose their jobs after the season.

Cross Detroit off the list.

The Tigers extended the contracts of manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski on Monday, giving the 66-year-old Leyland a contract for 2012 and signing Dombrowski to a new four-year deal, through 2015. Both previously had contracts that expired at the end of the season, and owner Mike Ilitch had hinted (but never actually said) that he expected this team to win and could hold either or both accountable if it didn't.

The Tigers are 61-53, and hold a four-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central.

Dombrowski came to the Tigers as club president after the 2001 season, and took over as general manager when Randy Smith was fired six games into the 2002 season. He hired Leyland 3 1/2 later, and the two took the Tigers to the World Series in 2006.

Leyland and Dombrowski won a World Series together, with the Marlins in 1997.

Leyland is 485-440 in his 5 1/2 years with the Tigers, after taking over a team that had gone 13 years without a winning record.

But the Tigers have also spent money in the last few years, and the 82-year-old Ilitch has let it be known that he expects results.

Leyland has preferred to work under one-year deals, saying in the past that he doesn't know how long he wants to manage.

The Tigers also announced that they have extended the contracts of Dombrowski's top assistants: Al Avila, John Westhoff, Scott Reid and David Chadd.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 9:30 pm

Is this the year Tigers win in the second half?

After the Tigers traded for Wilson Betemit Wednesday afternoon, general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters in Detroit what we already knew: He's trying hard to add a starting pitcher.

The Tigers might have as much motivation as any team shopping on this July's trade market. Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland both have contracts that run out at the end of the year, with no guarantee that either will return if the Tigers don't win. And the Tigers are in a tight race in the very winnable American League Central; they moved half a game ahead of the Indians when Cleveland lost to the Twins on Wednesday afternoon.

To win the division, the Tigers will likely need to do something they haven't done in more than a decade -- win more games than they lose in the second half of the season.

The Tigers haven't had a winning second half since 2000, when Phil Garner was the manager, Randy Smith was the general manager and Juan Gonzalez was the cleanup hitter. They've had just one winning second half since 1991, when Sparky Anderson was the manager and Cecil Fielder was the cleanup hitter.

One reason -- at least a small reason -- is that most of their midseason trades have not worked out.

In 2009, Jarrod Washburn went 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA, and Aubrey Huff hit .189 with just two home runs. In 2008, Kyle Farnsworth had a 6.75 ERA and three blown saves.

Even in 2006, when the Tigers went to the World Series, career .300 hitter Sean Casey hit just .245 after the Tigers acquired him from the Pirates.

The 2006 Tigers went 36-38 after the All-Star break, allowing the Twins to catch them for the AL Central title but making the playoffs as a wild-card team.

Overall, since Garner's 2000 Tigers went 41-37 after the break, the Tigers' overall second-half record is 301-444, a .404 winning percentage that translates to a 65-97 record over a 162-game season.

The Tigers went into Wednesday with a 2-2 record since the break this year.

Only two franchises in baseball have gone longer than the Tigers without posting a winning record after the All-Star break. Both the Royals and the Nationals/Expos have streaks that date back to 1996.

For more trade deadline news, click here.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com