Thanks to Matthew B. Mowery of The Oakland Press, we have Tigers' general manager Dave Dombrowski's quotes on his two shortstops; the soon to be suspended Jhonny Peralta and new heir apparent Jose Iglesias.
Update: Here's a collection of highlight videos.
Dombrowski spoke to the media about his reasoning behind the trade for Iglesias, all but confirming the reason for the deal was Peralta's part in MLB's Biogenesis investigation and the near certainty the Tigers' shortstop will be receiving a 50-game suspension. Keep in mind, Dombrowski being Dombrowski, he's not about to admit to the media exactly what he does and doesn't know.
"Peralta’s our shortstop, unless he is ruled NOT our shortstop"
NOT for long. Why else would the trade be made now?
"I do think some things are going to take place, but what is going to take place, I’m not 100 percent sure."
Yes, he is sure. This trade doesn't go down otherwise. No way in Hell MLB hasn't given the teams involved some sort of heads up on Biogenesis suspensions this close to the trade deadline.
Again, Dombrowski refuses to let on what he knows.
"I don’t really know what’s going to happen, 100 percent. But I read the same names that you read. And I got concerned."
Maybe not 100 percent. But 95 percent? Sure. Which meant time was of the essence.
"My problem ends up being that after 4 p.m. (Wednesday), I cannot aggressively try to do anything that’s assured. Because after 4 p.m. — again IF anything happens — and people know we’re looking for a shortstop, their shortstops aren’t going to make it through waivers."
To be honest, I'm surprised Dombrowski was able to come up with a legit shortstop period, let alone hours before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Given the internal options, Dombrowski didn't believe he could adequately replace Peralta for a significant amount of time.
But if you’re talking about 15 days disablement, we’re prepared for that. I mean, Diaz, Worth, Santiago. They’d prepare you for 15 days. Fifty days, if it comes to that, and a postseason run, not saying you may not win with that, but you’d like to be stronger. And this puts us in a stronger position."
But Dombrowski didn't jump at the first offer, either.
"They asked us for another guy or so. Another guy earlier in the conversation. But we weren’t prepared to do that."
I think it's safe to say the "guy" was Nick Castellanos.
Dombrowski wasn't going to make a trade deadline move for a shortstop unless it was a player who would be considered a long-term fix at the position. Once the suspension kicks in, Iglesias will be the Tigers' starting shortstop for the foreseeable future.
"We were not interested in that. It just did not make sense. But we have always thought at some point we might have to trade one of our young outfielders for another hole that we would have for the future. And so there were a lot of contributing factors here, but the biggest thing was we got a real good player we think can play for us for a long time."
Money is also a factor. A large factor. Suspension or not, odds are Peralta is going to get a significant raise in free agency. Even if he doesn't. Iglesias is far less costly option than Perlata and under team control until 2018.
"We know we have a free agent at second base, a free agent at shortstop, some free agents in the bullpen, and all of a sudden, where I wasn’t so sure where we’d be going with that, I think we’re in a spot where our goal is not only to be good this year, and the last couple of years, but to be good for years to come."
As for Iglesias as a player? Dombrowski believes he is an All-Star talent who is elite defensively.
"This guy is special, defensively.. This is not our scouting report. Our scouting reports have him as an All-Star shortstop. I don’t know if he’ll be that, or not, but some of our scouting reports do"
Dombrowski actually went as far to compare Iglesias to Hall of Fame level defenders at the shortstop position.
"Somebody that has seen him play just sent me a note and said ‘In all my years in the game, the only two defensive shortstops I’ve seen that are better are Ozzie and Vizquel."
Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel? No pressure, Jose. No pressure at all.
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