Iglesias Burdened by Leg Injuries
Yesterday morning Jose Iglesias confirmed that he has a stress fracture in both of his legs and could miss up to six months. The only thing certain is he will start the season on the disabled list. Iglesias was plagued by shin splints towards the end of last season, and they cropped up again at the beginning of Spring Training. Apparently he played through pain most of last season, but neither the Boston doctors nor the Detroit doctors saw the problem sticking around for the long haul.
Dave Dombrowski stated over the weekend that his initial plan was to look internally for Jose’s replacement, but there have been various reports that the Tigers have already looked into trading for Diamondbacks’ prospect Chris Owings and Mariners’ infielder Nick Franklin. Both players are young and have highly touted futures, which could suggest that Dobrowski is preparing for the absolute worst news about his shortstop. Hopefully Iglesias’ injury turns out to not be recurring, but Dombrowski isn’t the type of GM who is going to be caught off guard if it is.
Other names that have circled the Internet include free agent Stephen Drew, Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins, and Diamondbacks’ shortstop Didi Gregorius. Stephen Drew and Jimmy Rollins are both in their thirties and are either on the decline or fast approaching it. Rollins would have to be obtained in a trade, while Drew would cost north of $15 million and a first round draft pick. To me, neither of those players are worth what it would cost the Tigers. Gregorius is intriguing because he is only twenty four years old and projects as a good everyday shortstop. The reason he could be had in a trade is because the Diamondbacks intend on giving the starting job to Owings.
Internal options include prospect Eugenio Suarez, and longtime fringe infielder Danny Worth. Both would be able to handle the position on defense, but Worth will most likely not hit very much and Suarez has never faced pitching above Double A. Eugenio has solid MLB offensive projections for the future, he just isn’t ready yet. Utility man Steve Lobardozzi will also get some reps, but he does not have the range to play the position every day.
Jose Iglesias will rest up and hopefully return to the team either later this season or at the beginning of next season with no leg issues whatsoever. If the Tigers think otherwise, their front office will surely make a move to lock down the position. Regardless of that, I still think the Tigers do something to sure up the position soon. Every year they are all in until they win a World Series. I highly doubt that a team with sky high expectations is going to go into the 2014 season with either a platoon or a fringe MLB shortstop.