With the recent news that Jose Iglesias could possibly miss the entire 2014 season due to stress fractures in both shins, the Detroit Tigers will need a starting shortstop. At the least, Iglesias is expected to be out until the All-Star break. Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe sheds a little more light as to what Igelsias has been dealing with this spring…and even longer.
According to Cliff Corcoran of The Strike Zone (on SI.com), GM Dave Dombrowski is currently looking internally to fill the void. Those options aren’t exactly satisfying. If Iglesias were out for only a week or so, the Tigers might be able to get through that. But it’s looking like they’ll need someone for a little longer.
As you would expect, the chatter of the Tigers becoming aggressive in bringing Stephen Drew to the Motor City have taken an uptick. Corcoran feels Drew is the best option even if Iglesias doesn’t miss the entire season. He mentions the numbers, both offensively and defensively, Iglesias produced after the trade which brought him to Detroit.
Regarding Drew, Corcoran has this…
Drew, meanwhile, is an above-average fielder who compensates for middling batting averages by taking his share of walks and hitting for modest power, averaging double-digits in triples and home runs per 162 games. If Drew could be had on a one-year contract, his presence would greatly improve the Tigers’ outlook this season and, potentially, into the postseason.
Not sure how well Drew’s “modest power” will play at Comerica, and you would also suspect not as well as Drew fared away from Fenway last season especially with a couple of AL East venues. Then you look at Drew’s home/away splits and realize that assumption would be incorrect.
Plus, not sure Drew is looking for only a one-year deal either. At this point, that could be all he’s offered…by any team. Regretting not taking that qualifying offer?
ESPN’s Buster Olney doesn’t believe Drew is a fit despite the fact Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, has a good relationship with Tigers owner Mike Ilitch and the number of Boras’ clients that have been on a Tigers roster. (Insider link). Remember how quickly the Prince Fielder deal came about?
But if the Tigers go outside, there are a couple of other options. Both would require a trade.
Dombrowski could look to Seattle and inquire on Nick Franklin. (What team needing a middle infielder has he not been linked to this spring?) Franklin manned shortstop in 261 of his 383 minor league games. There has been a question raised if he could handle the defensive aspects of the shortstop position. As a shortstop in the minors, Franklin committed 65 errors on 1,150 chances and posted a RF/G (range factor per game) of 4.16. (RF/G is derived by adding a player’s putouts and assists, then taking that sum and dividing it by games played.) As a major league shortstop last season, Iglesias’ RF/G was 4.40. Take those for what they’re worth…
A drawback could be that the Mariners would request a MLB-ready starter in the deal. If only the Tigers had one still on their roster.
Another choice could be to call Arizona and ask about the availability of Didi Gregorius. I say that because ESPN’s Jim Bowden says the D’backs will go with Chris Owings as their everyday shortstop (Insider link).
In the winter of 2012, the Diamondbacks acquired Gregorius in a three-team trade involving the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. He got off to a torrid start last season, but as the season wore on, Gregorius’ bat wore down. The bat could still come around a bit as Gregorius owned a .273 batting average and .324 OBP in the minors. He doesn’t have the pop of Owings.
As far as Gregorius’ glove and arm are concerned, there hasn’t been much of a question. His DRS last season was -1 and his UZR was -0.6. We can compare Gregorius with Iglesias a little better than Franklin. Last season Iglesias had a DRS of 0 and UZR of 3.4 as a shortstop only.
But the Tigers could be in the same boat with the Snakes as they would be with Seattle. With the recent injury and loss of Patrick Corbin for the 2014 season, the D’backs would also undoubtedly request a MLB-ready pitcher.
Considering the Tigers might not have what the Mariners or Diamondbacks need/want (something the Tigers might not be able to provide), a third team could enter this fracas. Might be a necessity.
Or Dombrowski may be resigned to keep exploring those internal options.
Tags: Detroit Tigers