2015 was a good year for Jose Iglesias. After spending all of 2014 recovering from his shin splints, his comeback year was one to remember. The .300 batting average, 11 stolen bases, and 23 RBIs were more than most people expected from him. As one of the most entertaining defensive players in the MLB, he was was involved in 81 double plays, usually with his infield partner, Ian Kinsler. He even earned a well-deserved trip to the All-Star Game. But, is Jose Iglesias worth keeping in 2016?
Sep 18, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Dixon Machado (49) is lifted up by Detroit Tigers left fielder Tyler Collins (18) after he hits a hits an RBI single to win the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-4 in twelve innings. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
As the Detroit Tigers look to shore up the rotation and the bullpen, there are trades that will need to be made. While Iglesias does provide highlight-worthy plays in defense and surprising offensive drives at the plate, his physical health is a true concern. He is a fragile player who is easily hurt. While he was out for most of September with an injured finger, we all caught a glimpse of what is on the way in home-grown Dixon Machado.
Dixon Machado joined the Detroit Tigers organization when he was just 17 years old. He has played in nearly every team that the organization sponsors and this summer he made his debut at Comerica Park. In his short time in Detroit, he batted .235. While his work at the plate was satisfactory, his defensive work was impressive. In 24 games he registered a .979 fielding percentage and was involved in 14 double plays. It might be time for Machado to have more turns at shortstop in 2016.
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What does this mean for Iglesias? Could he be used as a bargaining chip to improve the bullpen or the starting rotation? There are shortstops available on the free agency market. Al Avila could decide to move Iglesias for a less expensive option that could platoon with Machado. A slightly older shortstop who is a positive influence in the dugout could be a good mentor to a young Tiger like Machado. Iglesias still has some issues with hustle on defense (remember the scrum with James McCann in the dugout) and he seems to favor making highlight-reel plays over routine grabs. Iglesias is eligible for arbitration in 2016 and with Scott Boras as his agent, he could demand a bigger payday around $3 million.
This is not a big salary by any means, especially when compared to the monster contracts belonging to Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Ian Kinsler. But, because of that low salary, he could become an interesting trade option for a team that is in the market for a shortstop and has capable bullpen pitchers to move.