Poll: The Tigers’ Shortstop Situation

It's never good for a team with its sights set on the World Series to incur a major injury in Spring Training, as there often few viable alternatives to be had. That's not necessarily the case for the Tigers, who recently suffered the loss of defensive wizard Jose Iglesias for what appears to be most of the 2014 season. The Tigers have seemingly have three legitimate routes to address the problem: stick with internal options, sign a free agent (i.e. Stephen Drew) or swing a trade for a suitable alternative.

Detroit GM Dave Dombroswki said at the time of the deal that the club planned on sticking with internal options. That means some combination of Danny Worth, Eugenio Suarez and and Hernan Perez would see the bulk of the time at shortstop. The 29-year-old Worth has a .622 career OPS in 246 Major League plate appearances to go along with just 219 big league innings at shortstop. Suarez, 22, has yet to play a game above Double-A and owns just a .253/.332/.387 batting line at that level. Perez, also 22, has gotten a brief taste of the Majors and possesses plus speed, but he's OPSed a meager .642 in parts of six minor league seasons. He's also played just 16 games at the Triple-A level. Suffice it to say, none of these three represents a particularly exciting option for a contending club.

While it's rare for a viable free agent option to be present at this stage in Spring Training, the Tigers have one of the premier free agents of the offseason available to them in the form of Drew. Saddled by a qualifying offer that has helped drive down his value, Drew is working out at the Scott Boras Training Institute in Miami. Fresh off a season in which he batted .253/.333/.443 with plus defense, Drew would require the Tigers to forfeit their No. 23 pick in the upcoming draft. It remains to be seen whether Drew would be amenable to a one-year deal (perhaps with a player option to coax the shorter guaranteed term out of Boras), but he appears to be a natural fit despite Dombrowski's comments. After all, it wasn't that long ago that the Tigers signed a high profile Boras client in light of an injury; Detroit inked Prince Fielder to a nine-year deal after losing Victor Martinez for the year prior to the 2012 campaign.

One has to wonder how genuine those comments from the GM were, in light of recent reports. FOX Sports' Jon Morosi tweeted yesterday that Detroit placed a call to Arizona regarding shortstop Chris Owings, though talks didn't progress far. Today, ESPN's Jayson Stark tweets that several scouts tell him they've been asked by the Tigers if their clubs have shortstops available in trades. One such candidate could be the man Owings beat out for the shortstop gig in Arizona — Didi Gregorius. The D'Backs are said to be making Gregorius available for MLB-ready pitching. He, of course, represents more of a long-term solution than a stopgap until Iglesias is healthy, but the Tigers could always move one of their defensively inclined shortstops next offseason should they swing a deal for Gregorius. Other names that could be available (my own speculation) are Cliff Pennington, Pete Kozma and Elliot Johnson, each of whom could provide solid defense without a heavy cost of acquisition.

It's hard to imagine the Tigers truly being closed off to the possibility of Drew or a trade, should either become available at a price with which Dombrowski is comfortable. However, he may prefer to stick with internal options rather than overpay at this juncture. A summer trade is always possible as well, as more shortstops could be available at that time.


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74 Comments on "Poll: The Tigers’ Shortstop Situation"


Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

Im sure Fister could have bought a SS and more, too bad Dombroswki already blew his wad

Alex
1 year 5 months ago

Lombardozzi. Still love how everybody’s forgotten about him.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

I didn’t forget about him, he’s just not very good defensively or offensively. His .264/.297/.338 line and average (2B, 3B) to below average (SS, LF) defense leaves something to be desired.

Alex
1 year 5 months ago

I’d take the chance of running with him or Perez or Suarez or whoever over overspending for a rental.

Seamaholic
1 year 5 months ago

Terrible defensively for a SS. If you’re going to accept mediocrity at that position, you at least need a decent glove, if only because Porcello needs that to excel as a SP.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 5 months ago

They already have a long term solution in Iglesias. They are looking for a SS for months, not years. Fister was traded for 15 years of collective service from the three players they got.

On the other hand, they only need about 5 MONTHS out of a SS right now.

Alex
1 year 5 months ago

As a Tiger fan… stick with internal options. Please. Signing Drew would be stupid. Unless it turns out Iglesias’s injury is something that will never go away, they don’t need to waste a draft pick on a year rental in an average short stop. I.E., Drew.

MLBrainmaker
1 year 5 months ago

“MLB-ready pitching” seems a bit rich for Gregorius. He’s a no-bat SS, that doesn’t walk much and doesn’t steal bases. He’s may a tick above a Pedro Florimon, but hardly.

And before you say he hit .250 last season, remember his .529 BAPIP in April — which gave him a .407 AVG for the month — from that point on he was a .220 hitter.

Nicholas Chappell
1 year 5 months ago

And did you know that away from Fenway Park (a hitter’s Paradise) Drew hit .220 last season?

erm016
1 year 5 months ago

I really don’t see them going w/ internal options. I think they’ll trade for someone, don’t think Drew is an option for them.

Seamaholic
1 year 5 months ago

They should trade for a SS now, but not someone like Gregorius. Adding Didi is going to do very little for their bottom line. Maybe 1 WAR? Something like that. And they’d have to give up something they can ill afford, one of their very few impact prospects, and then deal with a SS oversupply and trade for less than real value next off-season. Signing Drew means they probably can’t make a move to acquire salary at the deadline. Pass. They should go get a veteran who will stink with the bat but not cost a lot. Cliff Pennington? Paul Janish? There are some out there.

Bill Smith
1 year 5 months ago

Bonifacio. Slightly below average defensively at SS for his career, but pretty decent with the bat and very good speed. Cubs don’t need him beyond for depth, and he was picked up as a cut from KC, so he should be as cheap to acquire as anyone.

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

He’s slotted to be the Cubs opening day 2B, I’m a Cubs fan so you guys can take Barney off our hands, maybe for very cheap too.

Bill Smith
1 year 5 months ago

Read that just yesterday Renteria reiterated his intent for Barney to start at 2B, and Castro at SS, so not sure where you’re getting that info that he’s slated at 2B? I tried to cite my source, but it isn’t allowed apparently.

Brodor
1 year 5 months ago

Yeah idk where he heard that either. Bonifacio is not slated as the everyday 2B, he will fill a super utility spot for the club, playing more than most bench players, but not being a regular starter at any position, expect to see him move around a lot in the field. Bonifacio won’t be given the 2B job either in the wake of a Barney trade, he’s more useful to the Cubs as a versatile player. If Oly wins the 3rd base job it will shift the Murphy/Valbuena platoon over to 2B, not Bonifacio. I have seen reports recently that the Tigers are scouting Barney and Schierholtz again, they targeted the two at the deadline last year, they would be two helpful pieces on a winning ball club. And I’d also love to see Barney get to play short full time again and show his glove off from the left side of the bag

Bill Smith
1 year 5 months ago

Thanks for the insight, Mike. I’m probably unfairly scared off by Barney, with all the negative things I’ve read Cubs fans say about his bat, but I’m sure if DD thinks he’s a fit, and can find a way to solve the left field issue we have going with an injured Dirks/Davis platoon, he’ll pull the trigger on a deal.

jb226
1 year 5 months ago

Barney has no bat to speak of, but he’s a defensive star, at least at second (and he was originally a shortstop). The offensive dropoff from Iglesias wouldn’t be THAT bad and he could probably be had cheap. I honestly think he’s a strong fit for the Tigers’ situation. He’ll help out this year and not gum up the works when Ingelsias is ready to come back.

tune-in for baseball
1 year 5 months ago

We really need to look strongly at Nate Schierholtz with Dirks out like you said, but I am also very conserned with Davis and lingering hamstring issues.

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

With all the interest from the Tigers he may not be the opening day second baseman, in that case Bonifacio takes over, or in my opinion they should consider Javier Baez or at least Roberts. Barney could also be a fit in Baltimore. In the future I could see a deal that sends Barney and Schierholtz to Detroit. Just because you read something doesn’t mean it’s true. That’s like predicting who will win the World Series, we won’t know until Opening Day who’s at second. Could be Barney, could be Bonifacio, or it could be neither of them.

tune-in for baseball
1 year 5 months ago

DD should ramp up the urgency of at least a deal for Nate Schierholtz since Davis could have lingering hamstring issues.

Bill Smith
1 year 5 months ago

True, but when it’s the manager saying it a week before the season starts, I think that’s a pretty safe bet to say Barney will be standing at 2B come opening day.

LazerTown
1 year 5 months ago

Just for arg’s sake. Didi may only be worth 1 WAR, but their internal options could very real be worth negative WAR.

Karkat
1 year 5 months ago

I know everyone else is so down on Drew, but he’s a high-level defensive and above-average offensive shortstop who could probably be added on a short-term deal and is probably better than all their other reasonable options. It’d be a solid signing for a team that wants to be competitive NOW.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

Drew is better than any of their current candidates but I don’t think the Tigers should sign him now. If Drew is still available after the armature draft on a one year deal they should sign him then. Drew projects to be a 2-3 Win player, meaning signing him now vs. in June would only add 1-1.5 WAR to the team. The Tigers are in the weakest AL division and still field the best team in the division. There is no need to lose a draft pick to sign Drew now.

Karkat
1 year 5 months ago

I’m gonna be really annoyed if the Sox don’t get a pick from Drew. If they were only going to offer a QO to three of Napoli/Ells/Drew/Salty, Drew should’ve been the odd man out, not Salty.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

Performance wise yes but with the greedy Boras as his agent Drew was far more likely to turn down the QO than Salty and Jim Munsey were. I think that played a role in Cherington’s decision.

Denny Doyle
1 year 5 months ago

Salty would’ve definitely accepted.

Karkat
1 year 5 months ago

I’m not so positive about that. He really wanted a multi-year deal.

Spit Ball
1 year 5 months ago

He very well might have accepted the deal. Perhaps he thought his value was higher but he only got 3/21 million. No team with an unprotected first rounder would have even considered him for that Had he been offered the QO. In retrospect he would have been kind of stupid to turn down 1/14 for 3/21. He’s a healthy guy with passable defense and undeniable power in the bat. He would have likely recouped that 2/7 million plus some extra cash had a QO been extended by the Sox. Perhaps he thought his market looked more like 4/40 million. We will never know.

1 year 5 months ago

I agree. It’s easy to look at his 3/21 deal and say that he would have accepted, but I’m sure he thought his market would have been better than it was.

LazerTown
1 year 5 months ago

Because of one good season. That contract will be a bargain for the Marlins if Salty can repeat 2013. Odds against though seeing as he had a really nice BABIP.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 5 months ago

The rest of the league is MORE annoyed that the YankSox can afford to offer QO, when they can’t. The YankSox gave out 6 of the 13 total QOs.

Perfect example is Peralta. If he were a YankSox he would get a QO. But a normal team can’t just eat $14MM.

Kirk Edward Gerwin
1 year 5 months ago

Draft pick compensation and his desire for a long term deal in the range of 10 million per season…that would be why. He has very limited range and I wouldn’t call .250 BA above average. That would be about average in today’s league

Karkat
1 year 5 months ago

He had an OPS+ of 111 and a wRC+ of 109. that is, by definition, above average for a hitter, regardless of position. The only shortstops with > 500 plate appearances and a higher wRC+ were Troy Tulowitzki, Jed Lowrie, and Ian Desmond.

Spit Ball
1 year 5 months ago

He’s above average defensively as a shortstop and hits better than league average for any position as Karkat points out. He was among the better shortstops in the game last year and has been when he has been healthy. His range is fine. My eyes tell me that and so do the statistics.

Zachary Eick
1 year 5 months ago

DD is one to wait out the situation before acting (he didn’t trade for Iglesias right after Peralta got suspended, and even that trade came to some people as a surprise). I think they trade for a SS during the season after seeing how big of a fail the internal options are…

tune-in for baseball
1 year 5 months ago

I like the short term internal option of Danny Worth. He has Major League experience(162 games over 4 seasons),acceptable slash line of .242/.307/.315 for a #9 hitter, and won’t really hurt you in the field. He played better than Ramon Santiago last spring and would have made the 2013 roster if Detroit did not have a $2.1 mill obligation to Santiago in 2013. He is doing really well this spring (.333/.439/.515) and is healthy.

tune-in for baseball
1 year 5 months ago

Interesting poll but it seems a bit to early to post. You should have waited till Detroit gets the Doctor’s report from Jose’s visit on Tuesday in Colorado. We still don’t know if is a 60 day DL, longer or season ending injury.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

He was diagnosed with a stress fracture, the only question is will he be out most of the season or all of the season. That’s a question that cant be answered until Iggy gets several months into his recovery. Injury length is not an exact science.

docmilo5
1 year 5 months ago

It has to be something more than stress fractures for the reports that he will be out all season. Something fishy is going on.

tune-in for baseball
1 year 5 months ago

Is that from the Tuesday’s Appointment also?? Have not seen and word about that yet

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

No but stress fractures take anywhere from 4-16 weeks to heal, given that he has them in both legs your looking closer to 16 weeks. Then he can start rehabbing so the Tigers are looking at 2-4 months plus rehab time.

Homeruntrot
1 year 5 months ago

Make ya a heck of a deal on Jhonny Peralta

Jeffy25
1 year 5 months ago

Asking what they will do and what they should do are possibly two different things

Jacob Holton
1 year 5 months ago

Would Pedro Ciriaco be a possibility, he’s out of options and was San Diego’s starting SS before they got Cedeno, he’s not likely to make Royals roster, he’s not the solution but it’s a start.

Mike1L
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t think there’s much of a doubt that Drew would be produce the best on the field return for the next few months. It’s just a question of cost. A one year contract with a player option means a two year pillow for Drew, if he wants it, plus a draft pick. That’s a lot to pay for him, if you don’t need him for more than a few months.

1 year 5 months ago

Tigers don’t have the money to guarantee more than a year to Drew. They sent Fister away for nothing to save money and 30 million with Fielder just to get a tiny bit more flexibility. I think a one year deal is the only thing that makes sense.

Sufferfortribe
1 year 5 months ago

Elliot Johnson? Guy is probably going to make the major league roster, and I can’t see the Tribe helping out the Tigers in any way whatsoever.

Pawsdeep
1 year 5 months ago

Cliff Pennington, anyone? Should be reasonably inexpensive to acquire

LazerTown
1 year 5 months ago

Don’t the D’Backs control him?
Might not want to trade him if they can get the Tigers interested in Didi.

Pawsdeep
1 year 5 months ago

They do, but I’m guessing that Arizona probably wants more than Detroit is willing to give for a stop gap solution. I wouldn’t be surprised to see talks start with Didi and end with Detroit acquiring penninington

Barry2
1 year 5 months ago

This to me makes a lot of sense. The Dbacks get to save over 3m in the deal and they still have their two young ss.

Pawsdeep
1 year 5 months ago

Was my reasoning. Can’t see Arizona selling low on either of the two young guys, and can’t see detroit going for broke on what could be a question mark. Pennington makes a lot of sense when I think about it

Rook
1 year 5 months ago

The only problem with that trade for the Dbacks is it puts Didi and Owings in a platoon situation.
I’d like to see them both get 600 ab’s instead. One with Reno, the other with the Dbacks (or another team).

David Kowalski
1 year 5 months ago

I still say any deal on Drew should be $8 to $10 million for two years with a club option for a third year. He’s not the player he used to be (.502 slugging average at age 25) but he’s still good. The Tigers can afford him, particularly at $8 million since they no longer have to pay Prince Fielder. Another option would be Jonathan Herrera from the Red Sox. He’s hit .265 in well over 200 at bats in the majors and hit in the minors. The cost would be modest.

Jesse Ferguson
1 year 5 months ago

Isn’t there a certain day the in the midseason that qualifing free agents can sign without the team having to give up a 1st round pick? I can see the Tigers signing Drew then.

Jesse Ferguson
1 year 5 months ago

Isn’t there a certain day the in the midseason that qualifing free agents can sign without the team having to give up a 1st round pick? I can see the Tigers signing Drew then.

jb226
1 year 5 months ago

After the amateur draft, so June 8th or so. If they wait that long, though, there’s going to be a lot of competition.

David Ross Jr.
1 year 5 months ago

Just trade some small potatoes for Brendan Ryan!!! Vet plays IMMACULATE Defense and good/great DET offense can absorb weak bat in 9-spot(basically Iglesias anyways…real good D/real weak bat)

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 5 months ago

Ryan cant be traded without his consent prior to June and NYY needs him more than DET does.

David Ross Jr.
1 year 5 months ago

Good point guys but IDK….I bet Brendan Ryan would consent to being an everyday starter on a playoff-contending team, unless BR actually wants to back-up Jeter in Final season go-round! Probably never figured on getting a(good) starting job again, and Jeter’s back-up at 2-mil/yr is no bad gig, but an opportunity to be a major contributor, on a major contender like DET, may be too good to pass by!

Pawsdeep
1 year 5 months ago

Can’t without his consent. Seeing as he signed with the yanks as a FA, he can’t be traded until a certain date hits(not sure the exact date, but it is after spring training i am sure)

Jim Coughlin
1 year 5 months ago

Grab Starlin Castro from the Cubs.

cachhubguy
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t think the Cubs want to trade Castro because Baez is probably not a ss. But if they did, they would be asking a lot.

timmychavezjr
1 year 5 months ago

why would stephen drew sign with the tigers? i dont get why everyone is speculating this. drew has said multiple times he needs a MULTI YEAR deal, and is obviously holding out for one, otherwise he would have already signed with someone! the tigers would only need him for a year at best while jose recovers. i dont see it happening.