Jose Iglesias trade: Experts weigh in on Tigers' new addition

J. Meric

The Tigers have acquired their "shortstop of the future" giving up another top prospect in Avisail Garcia, along with pitcher Brayan Villarreal. Here are reactions from around the baseball world.

The big news in the national baseball media was that the Boston Red Sox were able to acquire starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox in a three team trade. But for Tiger fans, the news is that they've acquired a defensive whiz kid in shortstop Jose Iglesias. The Tigers give up another top prospect in Avisail Garcia, plus pitcher Brayan Villarreal, who made 50 appearances for the Tigers in 2012.

There has been an elephant in the room with the potential, and at this point presumed suspension of Tiger shortstop Jhonny Peralta, which Tiger General Manager Dave Dombrowski had been reluctant to discuss, citing that is a matter for Major League Baseball. Reports of the trade are coming against the backdrop of Dombrowski's press conference held after midnight, early Wednesday morning.

Here are reactions from the baseball world, with a focus on the impact the trade will have on the Tigers:

Dave Hogg at Fox Sports Detroit had Dombrowski's comments on where things stand with Peralta, along with his take on how Iglesias fits in:

From Dombrowski:

"The frank reality is that I do not know what is going to happen (with Peralta), but right now we feel very well protected if Jhonny ends up with a long suspension," Dombrowski said in a press conference that didn't start until after midnight. "We didn't feel that well protected with our internal options. If it was a 15-day issue, we would be confident that we could cover it with Ramon Santiago, Hernan Perez or Danny Worth, but if it is 50 days and into a postseason run, this gives us a better feeling."

"This is a guy who can be our shortstop for a long time," Dombrowski said. "I'm not going to stand him and anoint him as our definite shortstop of the future, but that's something that I definitely could see happening."

and Dave's reaction:

Obviously, Iglesias can't be expected to replace Peralta's bat and will leave Detroit's middle infield as a major hole until second baseman Omar Infante returns from an ankle injury. That said, the upgrade he provides at shortstop will be welcome to Detroit's pitching staff, especially in an infield that already includes Prince Fielder at first and a less-than-healthy Miguel Cabrera at third.

Dombrowski avoided saying he was disappointed that Peralta's suspension forced his hand into trading Garcia, but he acknowledged that he felt he had to do something before Wednesday's deadline.

Chris Iott of MLive.com put the deal in perspective

The Tigers are protecting themselves against a potential suspension of shortstop Jhonny Peralta as a result of the ongoing Major League Baseball investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic. But they also see the slick-fielding Iglesias as their shortstop of the future.

Iglesias is hitting .330 with a .787 OPS in 62 games for the Red Sox this season. He would not be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season and would be under team control through the 2018 season.

Iott then said this about where that leaves Peralta

Peralta will be a free agent after the 2013 season. The Tigers won't say as much, but there is no chance they will re-sign him this offseason. Whether they would have considered re-signing him or not was a valid question until the second they traded for Iglesias.

Matthew B Mowery of the Oakland Press wrote:

The Tigers wouldn't even say they were in the market for a shortstop.

They weren't even sure themselves.

Now they are getting one - and a good one - for insurance in case they lose the one they already have....

The internal options the Tigers had to fill in for Peralta are not strong, even though Dombrowski tried to put on a good face at Tuesday's press conference to announce Monday's trade acquisition, reliever Jose Veras.

John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press paints a bleak picture for Jhonny Peralta's future with the Tigers:


This afternoon's game with Washington could be Peralta's final game in a Tigers uniform. The Tigers next scheduled game is Friday, which is when Iglesias is due to join them.

Lowe suggested that the Tigers needed the defense that Iglesias brings more than they need Peralta's bat

Iglesias is a spectacular defensive shortstop who can also play second and third. He's hitting .330 this season in part-time duty, including starts at third base.....

the Tigers have lots of hitters. Iglesias brings them the infield range they are often cited for lacking. Before this season, the authoritative publication Baseball America said that Iglesias was perhaps "the best defensive shortstop prospect in the game."

As for who would be the Tiger shortstop after Peralta serves his yet unannounced suspension, Lowe added this:

Peralta, who can be a free agent after this season, would then be eligible to return with six games left in the regular season. But would the Tigers take him back, now that Iglesias is on hand? Dombrowski declined to address that issue.

Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, who had all but lobbied for the Tigers to replace Peralta at shortstop since the end of last season, wrote:

Dombrowski's bid to lock down a shortstop was in motion long before Tuesday. Peralta has been a remarkable story in Detroit after Dombrowski stole him from the Indians three summers ago. He has settled a position for the Tigers that has been in flux since the days of Alan Trammell. He has had a renaissance year in 2013, batting .308, with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs.

But even before the Biogenesis probe was announced, setting in motion a suspension the Tigers have known could sideline Peralta for months, the Tigers had been looking for a new man. They needed a more fleet and broader-ranged shortstop to vacuum ground balls Peralta can't handle. They needed a longer-term player when Peralta was staring at free agency.

Paul Wezner at Scout.com analyzed the trade

While many assumed that Garcia would be off-limits, the opportunity to flip him for a player of similar potential and skill, at a position of need, clearly trumped the desire to hang onto Avisail. Villarreal is likely a throw-in piece as someone the Red Sox hope is a couple of tweaks away from regaining his effectiveness.

Matt Snyder at MotorCityBengals.com wrote

With the loss of Danry Vasquez yesterday and Avisail Garcia today, the Tigers' relatively strong depth at the outfield position has thinned considerably. Losing Garcia is a tough pill to swallow, but gaining a solid young shortstop who's under team control through 2018 makes this a strong move for the Tigers.

Matt Sullivan at Over the Monster had an analysis of Iglesias' season with the Red Sox just a couple weeks ago.

Jose Iglesias has been one of the best stories of the 2013 Red Sox season. After years of wondering whether he could hit enough at the major-league level to carry his fantastic glove, Iglesias has managed a .410/.459/.528 batting line over 159 plate appearances this season. He played his way past a struggling Will Middlebrooks and into an everyday role at third base. Now with Stephen Drew on the DL, he has assumed the role that Red Sox fans have always hoped he would as the team's everyday shortstop.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports was less certain about next season, he tweeted

With Iglesias heading to Detroit, the Tigers have a shortstop for next season if they don't re-sign Peralta.

ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine has the reaction from a South Side point of view

By trading Jake Peavy, the Chicago White Sox may have picked up their next impact outfielder, according to two major league scouts who often have seen Avisail Garcia play.

"This young man has a tremendous tool set," said an American League talent evaluator. "He can really run and his defense is outstanding. The only thing that you might worry about is him gaining weight."

ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said this about Iglesias

"He is a great defensive shortstop. Not just good, he is great. He is going to give them exactly what they need.... this kid is going to give them a huge defensive upgrade at shortstop."

Steven Goldman of SB Nation wrote:

The thoroughly speculative nature of Chicago's return makes the Red Sox and Tigers the clear winner of the deal. ...
[Iglesias'] great glove will make up for a good deal of that, though, and that means that Dave Dombrowski has effectively insulated the Tigers from Peralta's likely suspension in a way that, say, the Rangers might not be able to. ... Thanks to the Tigers, we have the first-ever prophylactic Biogenesis trade.

The consensus reaction is that the Tigers have acquired a great defensive shortstop who has surprised this season by hitting for average, though that hitting may not be sustainable. Most experts seem to agree that Iglesias will be the Tigers' starting shortstop next season and into the future, meaning that they will not resign Jhonny Peralta, regardless of whether he is suspended. If and when Peralta's suspension is over, it is not clear who will be the Tigers starting shortstop for the last week of the season and into the playoffs.

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