For the longest time, the San Diego Padres have struggled to possess an everyday shortstop, a player that you can count on day in and day out. Everth Cabrera made an effort to be that person, and had a decent run at the position, but off-field issues and drug dependency ended that real quick.
Some would argue that the San Diego Padres haven’t had a decent shortstop since Khalil Greene. The soft-spoken, defensive wizard was an excellent player, but his five-year (2004-08) run at the position was short-lived because of some mental difficulties he had. The shortstop out of Clemson did not like the limelight of being a professional baseball player and you really have to wonder what his ceiling was as a player, had he been more comfortable in the majors.
The shortstop position has been a problem for this franchise for a long time. That cannot be overstated. Currently, it is still an issue, as the Padres look to go into the 2017 season with Luis Sardinas at the position. The 23-year-old is very young and he does have some upside, but the franchise still seems uncertain about his future with the team. Sardinas was traded by two different franchises in the last two seasons, though each already had established shortstops and no room for Sardinas. He could be serviceable at the position, but only time will really tell.
In recent weeks it has been reported that the Padres are looking for a veteran shortstop to come in and compete with Sardinas for the position, someone who could replace him in the daily lineup if things do not work out with him for any reason. There aren’t many options at the shortstop position, as it is one of scarcity around the league.
The Detroit Tigers reportedly have been fielding offers on their shortstop, Jose Iglesias, in recent days. General manager Al Avila told the media that he has drawn interest, but did not indicate who was calling about the infielder. He would make a very interesting option for the Padres, but the Tigers are still deciding whether or not they are buying or selling this off-season.
The team came into the Winter with the idea of rebuilding, making it known that just about everybody on their roster was available, including Miguel Cabrera. Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez have drawn a ton of interest, but nothing has been done as of yet. With the Royals, White Sox, and Twins all rebuilding, the Tigers are seriously considering keeping their core together and making another run. They will be an interesting team in the coming weeks as they will either be big sellers, or could throw some money around.
Obviously, if they decide to sell, Iglesias will be in demand to a certain degree. He is regarded as a plus defensive shortstop, and at the age of 27, he still has youth on his side. The right-handed hitter recorded a slash line of .255/.306/.336 last season, with four home runs and 32 RBI in 137 games for the Tigers. That is not overly impressive, but Iglesias only struck out 50 times last year. He can handle the bat and, despite having little power, he has some value. Defensively, the man committed only five errors last season in 1,163 innings, recording a .991 fielding percentage. That is well above the league average of .974 for the 2016 season. With Dixon Machado ready to take his game to the next level, the Tigers could surely afford to move on from Iglesias.
What would it take for the Padres to acquire him? Iglesias has two more years of service time before free agency after the 2018 season. He made $2.1 million last year in arbitration and could see a slight bump in pay this season. Some would argue his value, but for a Padres team in need of a shortstop, he has value. The man can pick it and he is not an easy out by any means. His bat is nothing to write home about, but again he does make contact, and with a lifetime .325 OBP, he is serviceable. In 2013, between Boston and Detroit, he recorded a .303/.349/.386 slash line with a 101 OPS+ in 350 at bats. There is ability, but the power will never really be there.
For Iglesias, the Padres have outfield depth that might interest the Tigers. Alex Dickerson and Travis Jankowski would be nice additions for the Tigers. They currently have JaCoby Jones, Anthony Gose, and Tyler Collins penciled in to play center. Jankowski would give the Tigers instant speed at the top of the lineup, something that have lacked for quite some time. He is also a superb defender and having him patrol the spacious outfield in Detroit would be highly beneficial. Dickerson is a corner outfielder/first baseman and would help balance out their lineup.
Either would be a nice addition for the Tigers, but both Dickerson and Jankowski have more service time than Iglesias and each are more inexpensive. The Tigers would probably have to pay a little more than Iglesias for Jankowski or Dickerson. Jairo Labourt is an option for the Friars. He is a left-handed pitcher with a sinking fastball and a decent slider. He went 7-9 last year in A-Ball, recording a 5.26 ERA in 87 innings. He is 22 and battling control problems, but once he puts it together he could be a serviceable pitcher. It has yet to be determined if he can take his three pitch arsenal and translate that into a starting role at the next level. Paul Voelker is another interesting pitcher to keep an eye on. He throws in the mid to high 90s and the 24-year-old is close to making the jump to the majors. He struck out 79 batters last season in 54 at bats at the Double-A level while walking 24. Myles Jaye is major league ready, but the 24-year-old has nothing spectacular in his repertoire. He threw 161 innings last year between Double-A and Triple-A and is what the Padres need right now, a potential innings eater. His ceiling isn’t very high, but the Padres can’t be too picky at the moment.
Iglesias would be helpful, but the Tigers would have to sweeten the deal for some outfield help. Jankowski would help the Tigers out, but the team is still not clear on their identity yet. If you start seeing Tigers players being dealt, then Iglesias could be moved rather quickly. With two years remaining on his contract, he has some value now. The deal makes sense, but it remains to be seen what it would take for the Padres to land Iglesias.