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12/09/08 5:35 PM EST

Looking for a lefty, Tigers eye Beimel

Rectifying closer situation remains club's top relief priority

LAS VEGAS -- While the Tigers continue to try to zero in on a closer, they also took time at the Winter Meetings to resume discussions regarding free-agent left-hander Joe Beimel.

Beimel's agent, Joe Sroba, met with Tigers officials here at the Bellagio Hotel. They have not neared a deal, according to a baseball source, and it appears that Detroit will at least try to progress on adding a closer first before focusing on its other relief needs.

The Tigers are believed to have retained strong interest in Beimel, having had multiple conversations with Sroba leading into the Winter Meetings. Though Detroit's need for a lefty specialist isn't as pressing as their closer vacancy, with Bobby Seay among their returning southpaws, Beimel's success over the past few years in terms of left-handed hitters have made him an intriguing option.

Detroit's left-handed relief options have dwindled a bit. They had discussions with the agent for Darren Oliver last month, but the Angels' decision to offer Oliver arbitration seemingly cooled Detroit's interest given its preference not to lose a Draft pick as compensation. Fellow lefty Arthur Rhodes, meanwhile, was reportedly close to a deal with the Reds, who have also had interest in Beimel. Will Ohman remains on the market, but the Tigers do not appear to be interested.

The 31-year-old Beimel went 5-1 with a 2.02 ERA this past season for the Dodgers, making 71 appearances over just 49 innings. Left-handed hitters batted .278 against him in 2008, compared to a .263 average against right-handed ones. His previous two seasons in Los Angeles, however, saw lefty hitters bat .188 against him in 2007 and .234 in 2006.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.