It has been a bad week for the Detroit Tigers. Already down a projected starter in LF Andy Dirks (even if only a platoon guy), the roster, thin even at full strength, started to get flexed. Now the Tigers face the very real possibility that Jose Iglesias will not play at all in 2014, and the thin roster gets stretched a little bit more. This is the curse of being in win now mode. The Tigers have traded all their prospects, save Nick Castellanos, and now the cupboard is pretty bare as they look for an internal option to fill the hole at short stop.
Really Dave Dombrowski needs to be called out a little bit for not getting enough in the Doug Fister trade. If you deal a valuable asset you have to get an everyday player in return. Dombrowski failed to do that, and now his thinning roster is going to require an additional move. The most prized asset he has left to barter with is SP Robbie Ray the main piece he got in the Doug Fister deal.
Hernan Perez, Eugenio Suarez, and Danny Worth will get the first looks as Iglesias’ replacement. The Tigers simply do not have the available assets to do much else. They could try and sign free agent Stephen Drew but he does not appear to be a good fit here. He is aging, his defense is in decline, and he is going to want more than one year. On top of all that he is going to cost this team a first round draft pick, and at this point the Tigers need their draft picks to resupply their minor league system.
That will always be the downfall of the Dombrowski era. They simply have not done a very good job at developing position players. They have done an ok job drafting pitchers and getting them to the majors, but the lack of adequate internal options in these kinds of situations is extremely troubling.
It is hard to argue the pieces the Tigers have traded away over the years would help in this situation, or that any of those prospects traded have hurt the club, but Dombrowski is a firm believer in building the team through trades and that seem to be a hit or miss proposition. Luckily most of the trades he’s has made have worked out fairly well. But the lack of depth in the system is something he will always be criticized for.
Since 2014 is likely an all-in year for this team, they must make a deal for a short stop and/or another outfielder. That may mean trading away Robbie Ray, but do not expect a move soon. It seems very likely Dombrowski will use the first part of the season to evaluate what he has currently and then look to deal for what he thinks the team lacks. That means we will see a number of different faces playing short stop when the season begins in 13 days.
If the team cannot afford to resign Max Scherzer long term maybe it makes sense now to deal him. I hate to say that, but the solution to these issues may just be an outside the box kind of move like that. We shall see.