Feb 18, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias during a team practice at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Well this is certainly escalating quickly.
According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, reports are starting to surface around baseball saying that injured Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias could miss a significant amount of time this season.
"[Jim] Bowden tweeted Saturday that, according to a player close to Iglesias, his “shin injury” will force him to miss “most of 2014.” Heyman’s report said much the same, citing a former teammate of Iglesias.The speculation is the Tigers will try to sign free agent Stephen Drew as a replacement. Drew played last year for Boston but has spent most of his eight-year career with Arizona."
I wouldn’t have figured that a shin splint issue in February and March would cause a player to miss most of the regular season, but both the team and player seem to be stumped by the injury. It’s just not getting any better.
I’m not sure who this former teammate is that’s being cited in the reports — or what type of specific inside information he might have — but it certainly has me fearing for the worst now. The Tigers have pretty much zero acceptable options to replace Iglesias at shortstop if they indeed need a long-term patch. Danny Worth or even Eugenio Suarez could be fine for a few weeks or a month, but probably not if we’re talking about more than half of the season. Not for a team with Division Championship and World Series aspirations.
Stephen Drew is the logical name to jump to, but the associated draft pick compensation situation could get tricky. Drew turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox, but it’s unlikely that the Tigers would want to give him anything close to that amount of money while also forfeiting a first round pick. It would be one thing if the signing of Drew would represent a long-term fit, but, with long-term solutions already at third, second, and shortstop (assuming this isn’t any sort of career derail-er for Iglesias), the Tigers are simply looking for a one-year patch.
ZiPS and Steamer both project Drew to be worth 1.5 – 1.7 WAR for 2014 — below average for a regular starter, but better than internal options — but that type of expected production would typically only fetch between $8 and $10 million. The Tigers would have to hope that Drew would be willing to accept the lower end of that range (because of also giving up the pick) for this to really make sense.
Hopefully the reports of Iglesias being out for “most of the year” turn out to be erroneous and the Tigers can simply find a short-term internal band-aid, but this situation is quickly turning dire.