Tigers make no qualifying offers to eight in-house FAs
The deadline to extend qualifying offers to impending free agents was 5 p.m. Monday. As general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated Sunday, the Tigers did not make qualifying offers — set at $14.1 million this year — to any of their eight in-house free agents, making them free to negotiate with any club, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.
That does not preclude the Tigers from trying to bring any of them back — it just means they were not willing to risk giving a pay raise of 100 percent or more to any of the free agents, in order to guarantee they’d get something in return if they left, namely a compensatory first-round pick in June’s draft. [For more on the process, CLICK HERE.]
The Tigers would still like to retain at least a couple of the eight free agents, although Dombrowski said it was “highly unlikely” that Jhonny Peralta would be one of those, considering they have their everyday shortstop in Jose Iglesias.
Second baseman Omar Infante could be back, but Dombrowski said, “We like (Hernan) Perez a lot.” The Yankees have reportedly expressed interest in Infante, if they cannot come to terms with their own free-agent second baseman, Robinson Cano.
Set-up man-turned-closer Joaquin Benoit is probably the most likely to return to the Tigers.
“You want to bring a closer back. We’re going to have a closer, so we’ll want to pursue somebody to pitch at the back end of the bullpen,” Dombrowski said. “Joaquin is in that group, but there are a lot of closers out there. It’s the one area where there are a lot of guys. That’s the one area I think we need to address, with him or someone else. And then we’ll look at the rest of the club.”
The Tigers are holding organizational meetings this week, and will set the offseason priorities then.