Why Iglesias is unlikely to be traded
Earlier in the summer, this was supposed to be the week that the Tigers either had their acquired shortstop in their lineup or were going to swing a deal for a shortstop to finally fill the void left by Jose Iglesias’ stress fractures. Eugenio Suarez’s performance over the past couple months has quieted that.
He hasn’t been a sensation, but for a rookie shortstop, he has been much better than expected, enough so that the Tigers feel comfortable going into the stretch run and the postseason with him. What happens next year is another matter, which leads to Nick Cafardo’s tidbit in Sunday’s Boston Globe:
Scouts hearing the Tigers are really impressed with rookie shortstop Eugenio Suarez and may trade Iglesias, who has missed this season with stress fractures in both shins.
It’s an interesting twist, and it says a ton about Suarez’s performance so far. But here are four reasons why it’s not likely to happen, at least not anytime soon:
- Trading Iglesias anytime in the near future would be dealing him at the low point of his value, and that’s not something Dave Dombrowski does with young players. While the return package the Tigers received for Doug Fister is still being scrutinized, much like the motivations for moving him, the value Fister held to teams at that point was about at its high point — two years away from free agency, coming off a very good stretch, injury woes seemingly behind him. Iglesias goes into next season having missed an entire year and likely with questions to answer about his long-term health, given the unusual nature of his injury and the difficulty in discovering it (including in the midst of medical evaluations during the trade). He’s going to have to prove he can not only play every day at a high level, but keep it up to gain value for other clubs. It could come in the big leagues, it could come in the minors, but from a health standpoint, he’s got to show it.
- There isn’t a major financial motivation to trade him yet. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after next season. He makes $1.65 million this year because it was the maximum pay cut allowed after the four-year, $8.25 million contract he first signed as a Cuban free agent ended.
- Suarez has had two months to show he can play, enough to earn the Tigers’ trust for the rest of the year. Whether it’s enough to show he’s better than a healthy Iglesias is a different question. He’s two years younger, which is a big advantage, but he also has yet to go through a round of major adjustments, either at Detroit or Toledo. Iglesias’ season last year showed some of the risks of small sample sizes — a .330 average and .785 OPS over 234 plate appearances with Boston, then a .259 average and .654 OPS over 148 plate appearances (granted, injury-hampered ones) in Detroit.
- The Tigers in recent years haven’t shied away from creating some Spring Training competition. Rick Porcello was supposedly a goner a year and a half ago once the Tigers re-signed Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers ended up holding onto Porcello and letting him battle Drew Smyly for the fifth spot in the rotation. The rest has worked out fairly well. Considering the Tigers didn’t sell low on Porcello then, it seems unlikely they’d sell even lower on Iglesias now.