After Jose Iglesias was diagnosed with stress fractures in both of his shins, naturally, rumours of Stephen Drew to the Detroit Tigers surfaced. Later in the day, rumours of the Seattle Mariners trading Nick Franklin to the Tigers also circulated the baseball world. Drew is a much better shortstop and with much more experience, but the Tigers will have to pay for that, and they will have to sacrifice their top draft pick. Franklin isn’t as talented as Drew, but has the potential to capably fill in for the injured Iglesias and would come at a much smaller cost. So, who should Detroit move for?
At face value, Franklin seems a much better investment. He is under contractual control for the next six years and will not cost a draft pick. Furthermore, he could fill in nicely for Iglesias for this year, and become a bench player in the following years. On the other hand, the Tigers, as previously mentioned, would sacrifice their top draft pick and pay around $14 million for a one year deal to secure Drew. However, despite everything pointing at a trade for Franklin being the way forward, I believe they ought to pursue Drew.
Firstly, the Tigers will have to move a player to Seattle in order to receive Franklin, reportedly the Mariners wanted Rick Porcello, which would be a ludicrous lose for the Tigers. Even if Detroit keep Porcello and simply send over a prospect to Seattle, they would still be losing a more valuable player. Let’s face it, you know the ceiling and potential for your prospects, and know what they can do in the future, on the other hand, trying to pick a gem from the draft is easier said than done as only around 66 percent of top picks actually make it to the big leagues.
Also, the Tigers window to win a World Series is now, and signing Drew to replace Iglesias is necessary if they are serious about playing October ball. With Max Scherzer unlikely to sign an extension, Miguel Cabrera soon moving on from his prime, Torii Hunter and Joe Nathan drawing closer to retirement, and Victor Martinez and Justin Verlander moving on from their peak, if the Tigers want to bring World Series rings back to Detroit they will need to act now.
Other shortstops like Didi Gregorius could potentially be fits for Detroit, but as of now, Drew and Franklin seem to be the frontrunners to replace Iglesias. Currently, according to sources, the Tigers are pushing hard to strike a deal with Seattle, but Drew, a Scott Boras client could be donning a Detroit uniform on opening day.