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Detroit — The rotation is all set, eh?

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has said all offseason he was happy with his starting pitchers, and he wasn't looking to make any other moves.

Of course, he said this before the Tigers dealt away Rick Porcello to Boston.

And he said it again Thursday, ahead of Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi report Friday that the Tigers have had discussions regarding free-agent pitcher James Shields. Morosi couldn't detail the level of interest other than there was some.

Shields, 33, who pitched with the Royals, is the second-best free-agent pitcher remaining.

No. 1, of course, is Max Scherzer, whom the Tigers offered $144 million for six years last spring. He said no then, and Dombrowski wouldn't say last month whether that offer still was on the table.

That said, the fact there's interest in Shields should tell you all you need to know about the Tigers.

Yes, they like their rotation. But, yes, it could get better, too — especially considering the questions about Justin Verlander, Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon.

They have an ace, in David Price, who agreed to a one-year, $19.75-million deal Friday, avoiding arbitration. But they've only got him for one more guaranteed year.

That's why Scherzer still is viewed, nationally and locally, as likely coming back to Detroit.

Dombrowski said "probably not" when asked Thursday if he saw Scherzer returning. That's consistent with what Dombrowski has said all winter, and that is this: Never once has he ruled out Scherzer.

And the fact there's been at least a phone call or two to Shields' representation tells you the door remains open for Scherzer.

Shields, 33, no doubt would be cheaper than Scherzer, 30, not just because of age but because of talent. Scherzer's a top-five pitcher in baseball, Shields is probably closer to the top 15.

Shields reportedly, and unbelievably, turned down a $100-million-plus offer from a mystery team earlier this winter. There have been no known offers for Scherzer, whose dreams of a $200-million payday are all but kaput.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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