Jason Beck made an assertion in his blog today that puzzles me to death: that shortstop Stephen Drew is looking for (and certainly going to get) a multi-year deal – which knocks the Tigers out of the running. Why on earth would that knock the Tigers out of the running?
I had been under the impression that the Tigers were looking for a replacement for Jhonny Peralta at short in part because of his current lack of range but also in part due to a desire to fill that position for more than the next year (after which Peralta’s contract will be up). Apparently – if Beck is to be believed – that is not the case at all. Puzzling, since while the Tigers do have some decent (and I say decent without any enthusiasm implied) middle infield prospects in the low minors, there is no one that looks to even potentially knock on the door in April 2014 (as their is with regards to corner outfield spots – where Dombrowski was nonetheless more than willing to give Torii Hunter a 2-year deal).
Is this solely because of concerns over Drew’s health and productivity, that is to say the risks involved in signing him, and not – as Beck maintains – because “the Tigers are looking short term”? That would make sense, I suppose. It can’t be because Dombrowski is looking ahead to the 2013-2014 free agent market for a solution to the Tigers’ problems. The best shortstop on the market after 2013 looks to be Peralta and the best second baseman (who could conceivably be asked to play short) looks to be Omar Infante. Maybe they’re looking to make a play on slick-fielding noodle bat Brendan Ryan? There is at least an argument to be made there, but signing a 32-year-old whose glove provides ALL of his value is dangerous. It isn’t, I would dearly hope, because the Tigers plan to blow this whole thing up after one last run at the pennant. So then why? I’d say if they think Drew is an upgrade over Peralta – give the man a 2-year deal! Hell, give the man a 3-year deal. What, seriously, is the alternative?