Despite the fact that the Cleveland Indians are giving the Detroit Tigers a run for their money this season while the Chicago White Sox resemble the baseball version of the Washington Generals, there is a clear arch villain for many Detroit Tigers’ fans, and that is the White Sox.
This is to take nothing away from the Indians, they have several hate-able factors from Ryan Raburn and Chris Perez to the terribly annoying Progressive Field drum guy, but the White Sox are a special breed. So it can be understandable that when rumors of Avisail Garcia being sent to the White Sox in a three-team, pre-Trade Deadline deal emerged late Tuesday, it was met with a universal “WHA’?” It didn’t further alleviate matters when it was announced that Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias would be coming to Detroit, someone many fans did not know.
Yet once the details of the trade began to be finalized: Garcia to Chicago, Brayan Villarreal sent to Boston, Iglesias coming to Detroit and Jake Peavy turning in his white socks for red socks, fans began to warm to the idea. Though many have called Iglesias a “typical light-hitting shortstop,” the 23-year old Cuban native is currently hitting .330. More importantly, the shortstop, who can also play third or second base, has earned much praise for his glove, something the Tigers’ have been lacking at any position for many years, particularly the infield.
When Iglesias signed with the Red Sox, the NYY scouting report on him even then was: Best hands in baseball since Omar Vizquel.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 31, 2013
A comparison to future Hall-of-Famer Omar Vizquel is high praise. While Jhonny Peralta has played above average defense in 2013, Iglesias gives the Tigers range that Jhonny does not have, and also may take some pressure off Miguel Cabrera at third. A shortstop that can range both ways can only be a positive for Cabrera as he works through his hip injury.
This move most likely means is that when baseball announces which players are subject to suspension for the Biogenesis mess, Peralta will begin serving his suspension of (probably) 50 games. Though Dave Dombrowski is playing coy, saying he does not know what will come out of Biogenesis, you have to believe he knows something and wasn’t going to risk a Danny Worth/Ramon Santiago platoon for the rest of the regular season.
A quick note on Jhonny, because I heard a talking point emerging from the trade last night. Many called Peralta “selfish” for putting himself above the team, requiring the Tigers to trade away a top prospect. People are entitled to have their opinions on PEDs and be mad at Peralta for allegedly using them, costing the team his presence and Garcia, however with Peralta being a free agent after this season, he likely wouldn’t have been back suspension or not.
Iglesias gives the Tigers their shortstop of 2014 and beyond. He is under team control through 2018. If Peralta is indeed suspended, then the 2014 shortstop moves up to active duty for the stretch run.
I admit, it stinks losing another prospect, especially Garcia who held his own in last year’s postseason despite being a rookie, but that’s baseball. Some fans tried to equate this trade as the second-coming of Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz, but that is off-base. This is trading youth for youth, potential for potential.
It will be worth losing Garcia it if the Tigers can capture that elusive fifth World Series championship. If they don’t? Well, seeing Garcia launching big flies in the pathetic Little League park where the White Sox play for years to come against the Tigers might be a bitter pill to swallow, even with spectacular defensive plays by the Detroit shortstop.