Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/6/12
DETROIT -- So just what did the Tigers do at baseballs winter meetings, which concluded Thursday in Nashville? General manager Dave Dombrowski, for the third straight year, did nothing of major significance. Perhaps the groundwork was laid for a trade or free-agent signing later this winter. But the signing of free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew and the trading of shortstop Jhonny Peralta never came close to happening at the Opryland Resort. Agent Scott Boras tried baiting Dombrowski into signing his free-agent closer client, Rafael Soriano, by saying going with a rookie closer such as Bruce Rondon, which the Tigers are considering, poses a philosophical cliff and is seldom successful. Dombrowski responded: Well, hes entitled to his opinion. There was plenty of posturing and little big news anywhere across the baseball landscape. Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke remain unsigned, along with pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who finished the 2012 season with the Tigers. What the Tigers did do was pick up a minor-league catcher for their one-time southpaw jewel, Andy Oliver; obtain via trades a pair of Rule 5 picks; and offer up some funny comments courtesy of manager Jim Leyland (more on that later). Rule 5 selections must remain on 25-man rosters for the entire season or be returned to their prior club. Second baseman Jeff Kobernus, who hit .282 and stole 42 bases in 2012, appears to have a better chance of sticking with the Tigers than left-handed starter Kyle Lobstein. Both were 2009 second-round picks who played Double-A ball last season. Were drafting him to be a utility guy, Dombrowski told reporters of Kobernus. We think he has the athleticism to be that. Kobernus works because he is a right-handed batter on a lefty-laden club, and Dombrowski noted that Kobernus can play outfield. We only have two more spots, Dombrowski said, adding that a right-handed hitting outfielder is one definite need, alhough it would be hard to imagine Kobernus platooning in left with Andy Dirks. The Tigers are interested in Kobernus because of his speed and versatility, but Double-A to the majors is a big jump. They likely would have to trade utility infielder Ramon Santiago, which reportedly was discussed at these meetings, to keep Kobernus. The two spots Dombrowski mentioned, by the way, are some combination of extra infielders or outfielders. Kobernus was obtained from the Red Sox, who drafted him away from the Nationals, for minor-league infielderoutfielder Justin Henry. Lobstein came from the Mets for cash considerations after they drafted him from the Rays organization. He was 8-7 with a 4.66 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 144 innings at Double-A. He might be able to come in as a starter and compete, Dombrowski said. And what, beat out Drew Smyly for a rotation spot? Detroits last Rule 5 pick, left-handed pitcher Kyle Bloom, was drafted from and returned to the Pirates during spring training in 2009 -- his last year in pro baseball. But there are some great Rule 5 success stories, such as Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. The Tigers took John Wetteland from the Dodgers in the 1987 Rule 5 draft. He made an impression in spring training, but Detroit manager Sparky Anderson opted to keep utility infielder Jim Walewander and returned Wetteland, who would record 330 saves. Ramon Cabrera, the switch-hitting catcher picked up from the Pirates for Oliver, will play at either Double-A or Triple-A depending on whether Bryan Holaday is kept as the Tigers backup catcher. Oliver competed for a rotation spot in Detroit as recently as last spring, but was just 5-9 with a 4.88 ERA for Toledo and eventually demoted to its bullpen. He was selected for the 2010 Futures Game but didnt participate because the Tigers called him up. Oliver allowed two runs in six innings in his big-league debut on June 25, 2010, at Atlanta, and Hall of Fame pitcher and announcer Don Sutton told me at the time how impressed he was with Oliver. Impressive or not that day, Oiver was 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in seven starts for the Tigers, and his problems with walks in those games continued in Toledo. He had 6.7 walks per nine innings for the Mud Hens. If Oliver ever finds his control and command, watch out. The Tigers will rue the day they made this trade. If he doesn't improve in those areas, he fades out of memory. The highlight of the meetings for me wasn't the roster tinkering by the Tiger, but Leylands answer to a press-conference question about how girls who didn't pay attention to him at Perrysburg (Ohio) High viewed him at their recent 50-year class reunion. "I don't see quite as good as I used to, but they look pretty good to me he said. Margaret Bayer looked fantastic. Her husband's a great guy. She looked really good. "I kind of wondered, when I drove back to Pittsburgh, I was thinking to myself, 'I wonder how the girls thought old Jimbo looked.' I'm sure they thought he's a little bald, a little skinny. "I don't know what they thought. It was really good. It was a fun time. It was a great time. Asked if he would be Prom King in a class re-vote, Leyland said, I was never the Prom King, but I was the most-popular boy. I could bring out my yearbook for you if you don't believe me, but I didn't bring it with me.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ate the Celtics’ heart during the second half of Game 4

NFL to reportedly bring back fun touchdown celebrations

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker