Jose Iglesias Expected To Miss Most Of 2014

MONDAY: Iglesias tells reporters, including MLB.com's Jason Beck, that he has been diagnosed with stress fractures in each shin, but he believes he can play at some point this season (Twitter links). Beck tweets that Iglesias will see a specialist tomorrow, which will give Detroit a better idea on his timeframe for a return.

MLB Network Radio's Jim Duquette first reported (via Twitter) that Iglesias' injury had worsened from shin spints to stress fractures earlier this morning.

SUNDAY, 1:09pm: Iglesias will need "extended rehab" for months and possibly the entire season, a source with knowledge of the injury tells the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo (via Twitter). Meanwhile, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters, including Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, he feels for Iglesias, who played for him last year, but was "aware (the shins were an issue) to the extent we had to monitor. We had to get him off his feet because he felt some pain and soreness there."

11:22am: The Tigers are sending Iglesias for a third opinion, but GM Dave Dombrowski says that the shortstop will definitely start the year on the DL, reports Tom Gage of the Detroit News (Twitter links). Initially, at least, the team will look to fill in for Iglesias internally, said Dombrowski.

SATURDAY: Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias will miss most of the 2014 season with a shin injury, Jim Bowden of ESPN tweets, citing a player close to Iglesias. The injury has fueled speculation that the Tigers will now pursue Stephen Drew, Bowden notes.

Iglesias hit just .259/.306/.348 for the Tigers in 46 games after arriving in a trade with Boston in 2013, but is widely regarded as one of the game's top defensive shortstops. The Tigers were relying on Iglesias to serve as the cog in a more defense-oriented infield, so replacing him at this point in the offseason will be a challenge. Drew likely represents the simplest option for doing so.

Drew, 31, hit .253/.333/.443 with typically strong defense at short for the World Champion Red Sox in 2013, but his 124 games played was his highest total since 2010. The Scott Boras client managed just 79 games in 2012 and 86 games in 2011. That fragility is likely one major factor in his continued availability. Another, of course, is the draft pick compensation Drew is tied to after declining a qualifying offer from the Red Sox. If the Tigers do sign him, they'll lose what is currently the 23rd pick in the 2014 draft. Forfeiting that pick could be a tough pill for Detroit to swallow. GM Dave Dombrowski has managed to avoid doing so thus far this offseason, with his major acquisition, second baseman Ian Kinsler, coming via trade rather than free agency.

However, Detroit ultimately has few alternatives if the goal is replacing Iglesias with an impact player. Indeed, this situation — team with playoff aspirations loses middle infielder to injury late in Spring Training — seems to be precisely what Boras has waited for.

Mariners infielder Nick Franklin is another possibility. The 23-year-old's name has appeared frequently in trade rumors since the Robinson Cano signing, and as the owner of less than a year of service time, he'd pair with third baseman Nick Castellanos to give the Tigers two talented, cost-controlled infielders. On the other hand, Dombrowski may be hesistant to hand two starting infield jobs to unproven players in a season in which the Tigers expect to contend for a championship.


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