Detroit Tigers fans will see a different team come Opening Day as Al Avila looks to better position the team for the long haul. One player who could bring back intriguing pieces is Jose Iglesias.
Detroit Tigers infielder Jose Iglesias has long enjoyed a reputation as one of baseball’s better fielding shortstops.
The player finished 15th among all position players in terms of UZR, and was named a finalist for the Gold Glove at shortstop in the American League.
The 26-year-old was also shows well at the plate, making solid contact at the plate (.303 batting average in 2013, .300 clip in 2015) while also striking out at a low rate.
Iglesias was the hardest hitter to strikeout in the American League last season with a 9.7% punch out rate.
While all this makes the former Red Sox a potential player to build around, Iglesias’ talents could net the Tigers some intriguing talent to add to a young nucleus that includes Michael Fulmer, Nick Castellanos and Bruce Rondon.
Unlike many other positions on the roster (the right side of the infield comes to mind), Detroit actually has a ready-made replacement.
Dixon Machado’s glove has probably been Major-League ready for the last handful of years. He’s still developing at the plate, but defensively he has similar defensive upside to that of Iglesias.
The 24-year-old did show promise in 131 games with Triple-A Toledo in 2016, batting .266 with a .349 on-base percentage.
He only struck out 75 times while contributing a 106 wRC+, 59 runs scored, 48 RBI, 17 stolen bases, four home runs and a pair of triples.
Given the at-bats, it wouldn’t be too much to ask for Machado to improve on Iglesias’ 73 wRC+ from last season. By comparison, Anthony Gose finished with a 69 wRC+.
With Machado waiting in the wings, Detroit could flip Iglesias, who is projected by MLBTradeRumors to earn $3.2 through arbitration, for help in the bullpen or the outfield. There’s also the possibility that the shortstop could be moved for prospects.
Here are three potential trades involving Jose Iglesias.