Detroit Tigers: Exploring Jose Iglesias Trade Scenarios
By Rob Low
Why Iglesias May Be a Fit
Somewhat surprisingly, the Brewers sit atop the National League Central. Their first place standing comes in spite of getting very little out of the shortstop position.
Orlando Arcia entered the year as the undisputed starter at short for Milwaukee. Arcia claimed the job in late 2016, and turned in a very good first full campaign in 2017. He hit .277 in 152 games, and played well defensively.
2018 has been disastrous for Arcia. In 66 games, his average stands at .197. Milwaukee sent him down to Triple-A a few different times, trying to get him back on track.
In his absence, the Brewers have tried five others at the position. Behind Arcia, the leader in games played at shortstop is Eric Sogard, who was recently designated for assignment. Next up is Tyler Saladino, who was activated from the disabled list last week.
Detroit Tigers fans may remember Saladino from his three-year stint with the White Sox. His best season on the South Side was 2016, in which he slashed .282/.315/.409 with a 98 OPS+. In 20 games with Milwaukee this season, Saladino carries a .292 average.
Saladino may continue his strong season at the plate, but it’s much more likely he regresses toward his .235 career average. Acquiring Iglesias and sending Saladino to the bench would make a lot of sense for Milwaukee. Saladino’s ability to play multiple positions would make him a very valuable bench asset, especially in the National League, where bench players are used more frequently.
Along with the Dodgers, the Brewers remain one of the teams most heavily linked to a Manny Machado deal. If Machado goes elsewhere, Iglesias would slot in nicely for the NL Central leaders.
A Potential Return
With free agency looming for Iglesias, any organization’s premier prospects are likely off the table. In the case of the Brewers, the Detroit Tigers could try to nab one of the many outfielders with promise in their system.
The 15th overall pick three years ago, Grisham has fallen off in the eyes of many due to a lack of average and power. What Grisham does bring is a high on-base percentage. Last year with High-A Carolina, he batted .223, but managed a .360 on-base percentage thanks to a league-leading 98 walks.
He also ranked in the top-five in runs scored and steals, although a hamstring injury has slowed him down a bit this season. In 2018, Grisham is hitting a career-low .212 with a .340 on-base percentage at Double-A Biloxi. At 21 years old (three years younger than the average player at Double-A), there’s plenty of time for Grisham to improve.
Milwaukee selected Lutz on the first day of the draft a little more than a year ago. He played 40 games for a pair of rookie-level affiliates in 2017, posting a .311/.398/.559 slash line.
Lutz has spent all of 2018 with Class A Wisconsin. His average has dipped to .240, but he leads the Timber Rattlers in runs, doubles, and RBIs. The 19-year old also earns high marks for a strong, accurate arm in the outfield, and good base running instincts.
Originally drafted as a shortstop, Gatewood spends most of his time at third base these days, with occasional appearances in the outfield. As he’s risen through the system, he’s continued to develop power. After hitting 15 homers a year ago, he’s already blasted 14 this season, tied for the Southern League lead.
Strikeouts continue to be the main problem for Gatewood. In his five pro seasons, he’s yet to post a strikeout rate below 26 percent. An improved approach at the plate and continued improvement to his power stroke will make the strikeouts less of an issue.