Tigers On The Prowl at the Winter Meetings

<b>ANAHEIM</b> – The Detroit Tigers, challengers for baseball's single-season record for losses just a year ago, hope to be on the verge of competing sooner than anyone would have expected.

In a weekend that has thus far been dominated by non-contending clubs, the Tigers are hopeful that they'll be the next to head to the podium. While major studs like Carlos Beltran are likely out of Detroit's range, absolutely no one is ruling out a stunner like last year's acquisition of Ivan Rodriguez.

"They may be the most improved team in the game," agent Scott Boras raved. "I think (owner) Mike Ilitch has made it clear he wants to take that team to the top. Pudge was just the start. I expect them to be aggressive."

That they have been. Detroit has a standing four-year offer on the table to highly coveted righthander Carl Pavano, who is mulling deals from the five interested American League clubs that he visited in recent weeks.

While Baltimore plastered Pavano's image on their scoreboard and the Red Sox opened up Curt Schilling's house to help woo Pavano, the Tigers made their best pitch by trotting out Hall of Famer Al Kaline and manager Alan Trammell.

"He was thrilled at Al's taking the time to sit down with him," Pavano's agent, Scott Shapiro, said Friday. "And Carl and Tram hit it off."

Meanwhile, the Tigers haven't wasted time in tracking down other possibilities for improvement. Detroit is making a pitch to free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, most recently of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and also has been reported to have interest in former Minnesota Twins third sacker Corey Koskie.

The Tigers have also been in the mix with two of the premier players that have already signed this week. Infielder Troy Glaus and outfielder Steve Finley both considered Comerica Park as a possible destination before deciding on the Arizona Diamondbacks and Anaheim Angels, respectively.

"I had it down to three teams, with Detroit and San Francisco," Finley said Friday. "It was a coin toss."

In other news…

  • The Colorado Rockies have reportedly traded catcher Charles Johnson to two teams: the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates, according to a report in the Denver Post. It's now up to Johnson to decide which team, if either, he will waive his no-trade clause to go to.

  • The Baltimore Orioles have been whispered as front-runners for both Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Delgado.

  • Former New York Mets infield coach Matt Galante is among a cast of baseball personalities who will be interviewed this weekend by the Washington Nationals.

  • Scout MLB Network Top Stories