The 2014 season for the Detroit Tigers saw much turnover at shortstop. Before the season began, Tigers fans expected Jose Iglesias to be the everyday shortstop for 2014 and many years beyond. When Iglesias was diagnosed with double shin injuries in the spring, the Tigers had to find alternatives at short. They started by acquiring Alex Gonzalez for Steve Lombardozzi and Andrew Romine for Jose Alvarez. After Gonzalez was largely ineffective, the Tigers cut him and turned to rookie Eugenio Suarez to help solve the Tigers’ shortstop woes.
Romine started the season as the backup shortstop for the Tigers with Gonzalez getting most of the reps at the beginning of April. Romine was a career minor leaguer and a backup that the Tigers acquired cheap. Nothing special was expected from Romine at the plate and he did not deliver anything special. Romine delivered a .227/.279/.275 split in 94 games in 2014. He was the 8th or 9th place hitter in the lineup and produced like one. His batting average was under the Mendoza line for a parts of the season which led to his replacement, Eugenio Suarez, bursting onto the scene.
As Suarez struggled to end the year, Romine stepped up and took back his starting role. In the second half, Romine hit .241/.281/.296 which does not seem like much, but it was a nice step forward.
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Romine excelled defensively which allowed him to keep his starting role while his bat struggled. Romine had more range than Suarez and made some nice defensive plays. Suarez seemed to make all of the routine plays in the regular season, even though he did boot a ball in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Romine was not anything special in for the Tigers in 2014, but it could have been much worse for the Tigers if Romine did not produce the little he did. 2014 could have turned into 2010 at shortstop with Adam Everett and Ramon Santiago. Overall, Romine gets a B- from me.
Suarez was not on most Tigers’ fans’ radars at the start of the 2014 season. He was on more radars as the Tigers struggled to find consistent production at shortstop while he was at AA Erie. Suarez then burst onto the scene at the beginning of June with 3 home runs and 6 RBI in his first 6 starts (8 overall games). This production of course turned out to be an anomaly as he ended the season with 4 home runs and 23 RBI.
Suarez really faded down the stretch as he posted a .226/.296/.274 split in the second half and .200/.263/.200 in September.
Defensively, Suarez was average. Suarez made plays that made onlookers say, “Whoa,” a lot. He would get to some balls that you did not expect him to and make some spectacular plays, but then he would airmail Miguel Cabrera at first base and throw it into the first row of the stands. Suarez was very good without any expectations in the first half of the season, but when it looked like Suarez lost steam toward the end of the season.
Since he was so up and down both offensively and defensively, but there were no expectations, Suarez gets a B- from me.