The Detroit Tigers have made two smaller moves before Wednesday’s trade deadline, both of which can pay great dividends.
The Tigers were inching closer to Wednesday’s trade deadline with rumors swirling about what established closer they were targeting to fill their void. They went a slightly different route by acquiring Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for minor league prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later.
Veras pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning in his first appearance as a Tiger in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals.
Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reported that Chicago and Boston were deep in discussion for Peavy but couldn’t reach an agreeable deal. It was when Boston GM Ben Cherington involved the Tigers that everything came together.
The headline move was Peavy’s relocation to Boston, but they also receive Tigers power-prospect Avisail Garcia and reliever Brayan Villarreal. In turn, Detroit received slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias. Boston then sent Garcia to the White Sox along with prospects Francelis Montas, J.B. Wendelken and Cleuluis Rondon for Peavy.
Veras and Iglesias will be key components for Detroit to make another deep run in October—because they’re the right fit.
Veras is an experienced reliever who has shown an ability to close effectively with 19 saves in 22 opportunities with Houston. He’s also adept in the setup role posting 75 career holds, giving manager Jim Leyland plenty of options in the late innings.
Joaquin Benoit appears to be penned into the closer’s role, thus Veras will likely continue to pitch the eighth inning. The seventh inning will be left in the hands of righty Bruce Rondon and lefty Drew Smyly, pending game situations. Al Alburquerque will likely see the mound in the seventh as well.
Just prior to last night’s trade, I sat down and penned out possible middle infielders that would fit with Detroit. Jose Iglesias was not on that list, and not because he isn’t apt for this roster, but because he’s very good.
The rumor mill was in full force surrounding Jhonny Peralta’s likely suspension in connection with the Biogenesis scandal. However, ESPN’s Jayson Stark wrote Tuesday that the Tigers didn’t appear caught up in the talk.
They've shown no urgency [to find a replacement for Peralta] whatsoever. It's almost like they know something, or maybe they've talked to Peralta and they know he's going to appeal it.
Major League Baseball officials told union leaders during a meeting at the Players Association’s midtown Manhattan offices on Tuesday that they plan to suspend Alex Rodriguez and eight other players who allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs from a South Florida anti-aging clinic.
Some of the notable players expected to be disciplined (not all were disclosed) include Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego Padres infielder Everth Cabrera, and Tiger’s shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
It was approximately 11:58 p.m. on Tuesday night that Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the three-team deal was official.
Deal official: Iglesias to DET for Garcia and Villareal, Garcia and minor leagues Wendelken, Montas, Rondon to CWS for Peavy.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2013
With Peralta’s fate hanging in the balance and Omar Infante still recovering from a sprained ankle suffered on July 4, the Tigers needed the insurance.
Ramon Santiago has been a utility infielder behind the Tigers’ starters for some time, but isn’t the answer should either be out for long. Hernan Perez has played well in the field, posting 18 put-outs in 12 games played, but he’s not in consideration as a replacement.
They needed to go outside of the organization, and that’s what they did for Iglesias.
The 23-year-old Cuba native has just one error in 240 innings this season and sports a .990 fielding percentage. He displays great range, smooth hands and an accurate arm across the diamond. Should Peralta be suspended, Iglesias would easily fill the void in the field; perhaps even improve a mediocre defense.
Unfortunately, at the plate is where Peralta will be sorely missed. While Iglesias is currently hitting .330, he hasn’t shown the ability to hit well consistently or provide much power. He does provide speed on the base paths, which is a weapon the Tigers could certainly utilize.
They’re not the flashy acquisitions that Tigers fans may have hoped for—but they make sense. In years past GM Dave Dombrowski may have spent the money to acquire the big-name closer or another well-known infielder to get fans in the stands.
But these were baseball moves, not the kind that will make headlines, but the kind that could hang banners.