The Shortstop Situation
It’s quite clear that the Tigers are on the hunt for a shortstop. Those darn rumors have been spread across the last few weeks that possibly Jack Wilson will be on the move to a Comerica Park near you. We also heard that Julio Lugo could be coming to Detroit in a deal for either “defunked” starter Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson.
Management has also made it clear that defense is the top priority at the position. After what we saw on the field last year, that Obviously makes sense. But why do the Tigers need to go through trade to find the best shortstop? Last year, it made sense. There was nothing available on the free agent market. This year, there are a couple guys that could fill in for a couple seasons, while Cale Iorg develops. It’s pretty clear to us that Rafael Furcal is out of the race. Which probably woudn’t happen anyways, seeing he wants a long term deal. But there are other fish in the sea. Let’s take a look a closer look at what I would consider “stopgaps” up to 2011.
Orlando Cabrera– Rumor has it that the shortstop is looking for a long term deal, but MLB.Com’s Anthony Castrovince states that there is reported interest in Cabrera. Cabrera wouldnt be the best answer defensively, but he can cover a lot of ground and has a pretty good arm. His hitting would be a nice compliment to the bottom of the order (assuming Leyland wouldn’t split up Polanco and Granderson). He hit .293 last year in an uncomfortable environment. I think he would be a good addition, but ultimately might be too pricey.
David Eckstein– I’m not a huge fan of Eckstein, but he could be just the type of Scrap type player needed to spark our offense. He is decent defensively, and as we all know, will go all out any any grounders up the middle. Despite his .265 average last season, he knows how to get on base. He put together a .351 OBP between Arizona and Toronto. He could be a late sign, and doesn’t demand a long term contract. Two years might be an honor for him.
Felipe Lopez– Nobody seems to talk about Lopez, because he had a pretty off year with the Nats last season, before being traded to the Cardinals. In 43 games he hit .385 with 21 RBIs for the Cardinals (in 100 games, he only had 25 for the Nationals). It would be hard to offer Lopez a two year deal, but the one year route could be intriguing.
Omar Vizquel– You want a defensive whiz? Vizquel is probably one of if not the best defensive shortstops of his era. He is as old as the infield dirt of the old Yankee Stadium, but he could suffice. Again, Two years might be risky. He could also split time with Ramon Santiago to keep his legs fresh.
John McDonald– How about this defensive whiz. McDonald is only valuable for his defense, and could come to Detroit for a cheap price. Rumor also has it that the Jays are going to stay out of the free agent hunt, so the demand in return for McDonald could be too much. One thing is certain though, his contract is pretty low. He would be owed only 1.9 million.
Alex Cora– The Tigers have yet again dipped into the Red Sox infield pot, to try and grab a utility type shortstop. According to the Free Press, the Tigers have talked internally about the former Boston backup. This signing wouldn’t make sense to me. He isn’t an improvement over Ramon Santiago. He is a career .245 hitter, while Santiago is a career .238 hitter.