Detroit Tigers rumors: shortstop edition

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)

Is Danny Worth really an option?

Is Danny Worth really an option?

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.

[Detroit Tigers some bold predictions for 2014]

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]

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  • Tomasimo

    Worth is a terrible option. Probably have to sign Drew. Sure miss Peralta and Garcia. How about a trade for Darwin Barney?

  • Michael Thelen

    It is hard not to look back to see the could have should have’s . I was hoping we would at least start the year with no holes or question marks.

  • schemaXYZ

    Sign Drew and you win the pennant. Sign anyone else and you don’t. Simple.

  • Rob White

    This is just more salt on the wound of Peralta’s PED bust which forced the Tigers to trade for Iglesias. I keep hearing great things about Garcia in Chicago too, this is going to haunt us for a long time.

    • Joe White

      Agreed 100%. How simple things would be if Avi was in left and Jhonny at short. Iglesias’ long-term upside is still huge but the need to win now is paramount.

  • Grappa

    What most of the writers are suggesting, seems to me to equal ss by committee. other then Drew there are no proven commodities. you got to be kidding, Worth at short! I could understand at third or maybe second, but he is to slow with his reflex. motors. he could possibly hit 220, that’s not a prescription for a run at the title.

    • Joe White

      I think Worth is a more than capable defender. His bat could improve. Let’s hope because he seems to be the guy right now.

  • Michael Bielecki

    Suarez probably played himself out of contention today, as he looked distracted–even during IF practice–during the SS game at Tradition Field. He hit the ball hard his first time up and then looked like Pedro Cerrano the rest of the afternoon. I hope Worth’s body can hold up for 100 or so regular season games.

    • Joe White

      Yeah, he’s just not ready. Plain and simple.

  • Randy R

    I like the Pennington option the best. He could play SS well for now and he has proven to be a pretty good utility player as well.
    I don’t like ANY of the internal options and I agree Drew won’t do the Cruz option of signing a one year deal. If somehow he would do that then I would pay the $10 million because that’s our best chance to win the WS.

    • Joe White

      Of the outsiders, I agree.

  • burrwick

    Good analysis as always Joe. I still don’t understand why the Tigers dealt for damaged goods. John Farell admits he had to give Iggy down time last year and rest him because of the pain. Iggy admitted the problem goes back as far as last years spring training. If DD knew all this why did he trade for him? If he didn’t know should’t Boston have been more forthcoming about the shin splint problems he’d been experiencing? How did it get by the physical the Tigers must surely have conducted? If Tiger brass deemed it nothing to worry about they need a new doctor and better judgement.

    In my view this is a bit scandalous however it played out as either Boston hid (or at least failed to mention) what turns out to be a serious condition, or the Tigers weren’t smart enough to view it as such if they were informed.

    • Joe White

      We’ll likely never know the answers to what went on here.

  • Robert White

    Stay with an in house option is my thinking.

    • Joe White

      Worth is probably the only capable guy for that route. He’d have to stay healthy and show the line drive swing that we witnessed several years ago.

  • Vince in MN

    I thought guys on the 40-man who are on the DL don’t count, so adding Worth should not be a problem. And since Iglesias is going to be on it for a long, long time, that gives the Tigers a bit of wiggle room well into the regular season.

    • Joe White

      Will look into it more but he was moved off the 40-man in December.

      • Joe White

        Yeah, the 40-man is a non issue because of Dirks and Iglesias. All fixed. Thanks Vince.