Ironic, some of the decisions Dave Dombrowski has either made, or will make, as a new baseball season begins for last year's World Series runner-ups.

The Tigers are a trendy pick to play in another World Series in October. Las Vegas and various other entities that don't mind risking a buck suggest Detroit will win a championship after winning one World Series game in the Tigers' combined 2006 and 2012 bids.

But here were the Tigers at December's Winter Meetings, grabbing a pair of players in the Rule 5 draft — a shopping aisle generally favored by teams with serious roster holes.

And here was Dombrowski on Sunday, looking over the terrace from his office at Marchant Stadium, ribbing a gang of writers below — and likely preparing for a spring training trade he hopes will make a sturdy, talented team a bit more bulletproof ahead of a long, dangerous 2013 season.

And so what does it say about the Tigers and about their front-office architect? Is he a shrewd, even elite, GM with one world championship (Marlins) on his resume and two near-misses that this year could give way to a title?

Any reasonable overview is Dombrowski has been good for baseball in Detroit since he arrived in November 2001. You can also posit Detroit — specifically, owner Mike Ilitch — has been beyond good to Dombrowski.

He has been lavished with payroll. He has been allowed to spend on staff, on draft picks (before baseball's new rules), and on building a deeper Tigers presence in Latin America and Asia.

Lots of GMs haven't had Dombrowski's latitude. And yet remember what Ilitch explained about why he hired Dombrowski in 2001 to clean up an organizational mess.

He had admired what Dombrowski did with low payrolls when he was GM at Montreal ahead of the Expos morphing into the Washington Nationals. The boss doesn't mind spending when he trusts his general.

From The Detroit News: