When news breaks in Detroit Tigers camp of the magnitude of the Jose Iglesias injury, all hell breaks loose. Every Tigers writer with an audience has been taking to the web and prognosticating what GM Dave Dombrowski should do. But as we all know too well by now, Dombrowski will never tip his hand.
Now it’s my turn.
Here is the list of names that have already popped up in one form or another, listed by category:
Internal options – Eugenio Suarez, Hernan Perez, and Danny Worth
Free agents – Stephen Drew
Trade candidates – Chris Owings, DiDi Gregorius and Cliff Pennington (all from Arizona), Nick Franklin (Seattle), Tyler Pastornicky (Atlanta), Pete Kozma (St. Louis)
Regarding the internal options, none of them are overly appealing. Danny Worth would play the best defense right away but his bat has never been ideal, and lately, neither has his health. He has had plenty of chances to break through with the Tigers and simply hasn’t done it. Eventually that has to mean something. Speaking of not ideal, neither are the sticks of Suarez or Perez. I have long lamented the fact that Jose Iglesias won’t hit with much authority but I’d rather have his bat in the lineup than any of the three internals.
Personally, I feel that Perez is ahead of Suarez both defensively and with the bat, but I’d still expect a slew of errors and a sub .250 batting average. A broke man’s Jose Iglesias in other words.
As for Stephen Drew, I think most of us can agree that we’d rather not see this happen. The problem list with this move is lengthy, including, but not limited to:
- He wants a multi-year deal, the Tigers can’t give more than one
- He wants $10M+/year, the Tigers are already entering the season with an organizational record-setting $160M payroll – if they had more money to spend don’t you think they’d have a different left fielder, or still have Doug Fister?
- Drew doesn’t appear to be a great clubhouse guy
Scott Boras is Drew’s representative and the attack-mode super agent has surely been selling the Tigers whatever snake oil he’s been brewing this week on Drew. Boras has a long track record of convincing the Tigers how best to spend their money. This reason alone blocks me from wiping this idea off the table.
Also in Drew’s favor is the fact that, of any of the names listed above, he would almost certainly perform the best on the field. And if the Tigers want to win a World Series as bad as they say they do, then….
Trades at this point in the spring are difficult. Most teams have already laid out their 25-man rosters and how their positional depth would look throughout the season in the event of injury. Of the teams mentioned above with parts potentially for sale, all three have mighty aspirations for the coming season. Dealings won’t come cheap, if at all.
A rumor has it that the Tigers already reached out to Arizona regarding Chris Owings but the talks didn’t make it very far. Owings is in a battle with Gregorius for the starting SS job in the desert and is a decent defender with a plus bat. My hunch is that D’backs manager Kirk Gibson likes Gregorius’ glove and arm more than Owings’ hitting prowess, at least for now. Pulling either one of these guys in would cost a fortune from an already massively depleted farm system. The odds here are miniscule.
Nick Franklin is an intriguing name as he had a decent rookie season in Seattle in 2013 (.225, 12 homers, 45 RBI’s in 369 at-bats) while playing second base. He is a capable shortstop but currently doesn’t have a position with the emergence of shortstop Brad Miller and the signing of 2B Robinson Cano. Franklin, like the Arizona duo however, would require a large package in return as he is a highly regarded prospect. Again, the odds here are relatively slim but he is potentially an impact player and just 23-years old.
The Pennington, Pastornicky, and Kozma group is a list of former starters who will play in reserve roles all summer on their current clubs. Pennington would probably be the most useful and shouldn’t require a huge investment from the Tigers in return, potentially proving to be a perfect 1-year stop gap. And if and when Iglesias comes back he’d make for a nice utility man down the stretch.
We’ll know a lot more about Iglesias’ stress fractures (in both legs!) in the coming days as he is meeting with specialists in Colorado. With that in mind, I’d expect the Tigers to make a move no earlier than the weekend once they’ve gathered up the proper information.
If the prognosis is positive, which I doubt, then Detroit will make it work internally. If he is to be out for several months (this would be my guess) then don’t be surprised if the Tigers pull a Pennington-like trade very soon. But is the hassle of trading for a Cliff Pennington type actually “Worth” it?
[RELATED LINK: Why Tyler Collins should make the Opening Day roster]
To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form
[Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]