Detroit Tigers Feeling the Pressure to Succeed in 2017
The pressure is not on Miguel Cabrera – he’ll draw crowds and a big paycheck anywhere. Nick Castellanos shouldn’t be feeling much either. This leaves Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias.
Of the two middle infielders, Iglesias has the most to lose as pressure mounts from the inside and the outside.
Just a few short years ago, Iglesias was one of the hottest young shortstops in the game. He was an exciting player to watch in comparison to the aging and tired shortstops around the league. Now, he’s got competition from hotshots like Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell, and Corey Seager. On the latest top 10 MLB shortstops, Iglesias does not even rate.
His defense is still smoking hot, but the trouble is his bat. After an impressive All-Star season in 2015, Iglesias only managed a slash of .255/.306/.366 with an OPS of .643. He did finish the season with 1.8 WAR, which was his highest so far.
But, young(er) shortstops are all the rage right now and even though Iglesias is only 27, he has two young shortstops breathing down his neck. JaCoby Jones and Dixon Machado would both like his job. While neither have had the hits and runs that Iglesias has, the Tigers have announced that they want to reduce payroll. Iglesias does not have an outrageous contract, but at $4.5 million for 2017, he will make much more than Jones or Machado. And, soon, Iglesias will want even more as he approaches free agency in 2019.
If Iglesias wants to stay in Detroit, he needs to play like he is hungry and under 24. If his latest Instagram post is any sign that he understands the pressure, then I don’t know what is: