Detroit Tigers Have Officially Won the Jose Iglesias Trade


Trades can be somewhat hard to judge when they are made. Because of involved prospects, it can take years to decide which team came out ahead. For the Detroit Tigers, years have passed since the team acquired Jose Iglesias. The shortstop was acquired a day before the 2013 July Trade Deadline in a three-team trade with the Red Sox and White Sox. Boston gave up Iglesias and three prospects while acquiring Jake Peavy and Bryan Villarreal. Chicago acquired Avisail Garcia and the said three prospects from the Red Sox.

While the team could still benefit from trading the shortstop, enough time has passed to declare the Tigers winners in the deal, even though the team acquired only one player.

What Jose Iglesias Has Done for the Tigers  

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Despite missing the 2014 season due to injury, Iglesias has provided the Detroit Tigers with quite a fair bit of value.

He hit a respectable .259 in the second half of 2013. During that stretch he hit two home runs, six doubles, drove in 10 runs and swiped to bases. The shortstop really turned up the heat at the plate in the ALCS against his former team. Just months after being dealt, he put up an outstanding .357 batting average against the Red Sox.

After missing 2014 due to injuries in his shins, Iglesias returned last season. While he continued to dazzle with highlight-reel defensive plays, he was a consistent contributor on offense. Iglesias posted a 1.5 WAR and was worth 18 offensive runs above replacement level (this stat basically takes all offensive and non-fielding numbers into account). By comparison, Troy Tulowitzki was worth 24 offensive runs above replacement level while Jhonny Peralta was worth 26 in 2015.

Iglesias made his first All-Star team for the Tigers last year. He hit an even .300 while driving in 23 run, stealing 11 bases and smacking 17 doubles. The shortstop also chipped in with two home runs and three triples.

If he isn’t dealt, Iglesias could be in Detroit for the next decade.

What’s Left of What Boston Came Away With 

Aug 31, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jake Peavy (22) pitches in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox acquired reliever Bryan Villarreal from the Tigers and starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the White Sox. Neither remain with the franchise as of today.

Villarreal showed promise in 2012 for Detroit, posting a 2.63 ERA (2.99 FIP) in 50 appearances. Then 2013 happened and things went downhill. The reliever allowed 16 earned runs across 54.2 innings in 2012. In 2013 he allowed 10 runs in 4.1 (!) innings. He would go on to face one singular batter as a Boston pitcher. Villarreal walked that batter and never pitched for the Sox again. He was released following the 2014 campaign.

Peavy actually left the Red Sox’ organization before Villarreal did. The former Padre was traded mid-season to the San Francisco Giants. All told he pitched to a 5-10 record and managed a 4.48 ERA (4.45 FIP) in 188.2 innings pitched in a Boston uniform. He was lit up by the Tigers in the 2013 ALCS, allowing five hits, three walks and seven runs in only three innings pitched.

Boston acquired pitchers Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree in exchange for Peavy. Escobar’s ERA in the minors during the 2015 season was 4.97 as he switched between starting and relieving. Hembree made it to the majors with the Sox, and found some success by putting up a solid 3.55 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. However, Hembree’s 5.58 FIP paints a much different picture.

What the White Sox Received  

Chicago came away with four players from the trade. Pitchers Jeffrey Wendelken and Frankie Montas, infielder Cleuluis Rondon and outfield Avisail Garcia.

Two of the players, Wendelken and Rondon, have yet to reach the big leagues. Wendelken is only 22-years-old and just reached Triple-A for the first time in 2015. His ERA in 12 appearances was 4.50. Rondon, 21, also reached the high minors this season. However, his results weren’t as solid as Wendelken’s. The infielder hit a paltry .165 for two different farm teams. Most of his time was spent in Single-A where he managed a .168 batting average, three home runs, 26 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 452 plate appearances.

Sep 27, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Chicago White Sox pinch hitter Avisail Garcia (26) hits a solo home run against the New York Yankees in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Montas did in fact reach the majors and showed promise in a seven-game stint despite a 4.80 earned run average. It’s obviously a small sample size, but the pitcher’s 3.13 FIP and his average of 12 strikeouts-per-nine-innings were encouraging.

The final piece of the deal, Garcia, has yet to establish himself as a franchise-cornerstone. Or, in other words, a player a team can build around. The outfielder hit .304 down the stretch for the White Sox, but that has proved to be the highlight of his time in Chicago. Like Iglesias, he’s missed time, but Garcia has failed to produce when given the opportunity. In his first full season in 2015, the outfielder hit .257 with only 13 home runs and 59 RBI in 148 games. He also holds the distinction for having nearly as many strikeouts (141) as total hits (142). Throw in a meager 32 extra-base hits (Anthony Gose had 37) and you have the makings of a disappointing season. Garcia is still only 24, but with each game he’s making the Tigers look much smarter.

Detroit clearly knew what they were doing when they dealt Garcia to acquire Iglesias.

Next: Why Jordan Zimmermann Will Succeed in Detroit

Dave Dombrowski had a habit of winning trades in a landslide type of fashion when he was with the Detroit Tigers. This was another example of that as Iglesias could potentially be around for a long time while Boston and Chicago are left with spare parts.