The Tigers have placed shortstop Jose Iglesias on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports on Twitter. His active roster spot will be taken over by righty Warwick Saupold.
[Related: Updated Tigers Depth Chart]
Detroit will utilize utilityman Andrew Romine at shortstop for the time being. But with third baseman Nick Castellanos also sidelined, there’s increasing pressure on the organization to find an outside addition on the left side of the infield. That’s all before considering the needs that have arisen from injuries to outfielder Cameron Maybin as well as pitchers Jordan Zimmerman and Mike Pelfrey.
Iglesias, 26, has not produced at the league-average rate that he did last year. Over his 399 plate appearances in 2016, he’s slashing just .249/.297/.328. Still, he has managed to rate as a middle-tier starting option at the shortstop position (by measure of fWAR) owing to his top-line glovework.
It’s not yet clear whether Detroit will act to fill the void with a trade — particularly given that there’s no timeline as yet for Iglesias to return. Hamstring issues, it bears noting, are notorious for lingering. While Castellanos is expected back by early to mid-September, he’ll be working back from a fractured hand that could pose its own uncertainties. And his replacement, the veteran Casey McGehee, has struggled of late in the majors, though he was hitting well at Triple-A.
Of course, finding a match is more complicated in August. With the trade deadline having already passed, the Tigers would be left looking at waiver claims or players who have already cleared. Still, with Detroit sitting a half game out of the Wild Card and four back in the AL Central, wins are at a premium. Only one shortstop, Zack Cozart, cracked MLBTR’s latest listing of the top trade candidates, though he’d be a tough target given his appealing contract status and solid play (which not only raises the acquisition cost, but makes him a likely player to be claimed by teams with higher waiver priority). There are several third basemen who could potentially be had, though none would help account for the absence of Iglesias.
The Tigers do have some options kicking around at Triple-A, of course, and it appears that the team is preparing to use them. John Wagner of the Toledo Blade tweets that both shortstop Dixon Machado and outfielder Alex Presley aren’t in tonight’s lineup for the club’s top affiliate, suggesting that either or both could be on the way to the majors in short order. Machado, 24, struggled in limited action in the majors last year, and carries a .266/.356/.354 batting line in his 507 Triple-A plate appearances this season.