The Detroit Tigers finally made a move to solidify their left side of the infield in the wake of Jose Iglesias' season ending injury. The team announced Friday afternoon they have acquired Los Angeles Angels infielder Andrew Romine. The Tigers gave up left-handed pitcher Jose Alvarez in exchange for Romine.
Romine is a 28-year-old switch-hitting utility man who has played parts of four seasons with the Angels. He was out of options and was likely to start the season in the minors (if he could pass through waivers) as the Angels are going with veteran John McDonald in a utility role. Considered to be a very good defender, Romine has played 36 career MLB games at short, and also has experience at second and third. Not yet eligible for arbitration, Romine is under team control until 2019.
Romine received the most playing time of his big league career in 2013, making the Angels out of spring training. But Romine was sent down at the end of April after a 3-for-25 start. In 89 games at Triple-A Salt Lake in the high-offense PCL, Romine had a solid summer at the plate, hitting .287/.367/.391, with four home runs, 39 RBIs, and a .758 OPS. He drew 43 walks in 416 plate appearances and stole 15 bases.
The Angels recalled Romine in August, hitting a far more respectable .294/.344/.329 in 85 at bats. Overall, Romine ended 2013 hitting.259/.308/.287 with no home runs and 10 RBI in 123 at bats over 47 games.
Romine likely has a little more offensive upside than the Tigers' current internal shortstop options of Danny Worth, Hernan Perez and Eugenio Suarez, while projecting to be slightly better defensively. He had significant platoon splits in 2013, a .765 OPS versus left-handed pitching and just .566 when facing righties. According to GM Dave Dpombrowski, Romine will the the left-hand swinging side of a shortstop platoon, paired with either Worth or Perez.
If you were waiting on the Tigers to make a splashy move to replace Iglesias, trading for a big name or signing free-agent Stephen Drew, this isn't the move you hoped. But the Tigers only had to give up Jose Alverez in return. The 24-year-old lefty made 14 appearances with the Tigers in 2013, six of those starts, ending the season 1-5 with a 5.82 ERA. With a career 3.50 minor league ERA, Alvarez was considered organizational depth and would have started the 2014 season at Triple-A Toledo.