By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – General manager Dave Dombrowski had been fielding questions from reporters for months about a contingency plan for the shortstop position.
With Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta implicated in the Biogenesis scandal, the Detroit Tigers stand to lose their shortstop to a long suspension at any time.
Late Tuesday night, Dombrowski announced a trade for Jose Iglesias of the Boston Red Sox.
Just call Iglesias the contingency plan.
He was hitting .330 in the majors and had been playing third base in Boston, but he can also play shortstop and second base.
Dombrowski told the Red Sox weeks earlier that the Tigers did not need a shortstop, but as updates about Biogenesis continued to surface, he reconsidered.
“I don’t think anybody knows what’s going to take place for sure, but I think if there’s enough smoke, you get to be concerned,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not at great liberty to talk about that because I really – that’s a commissioner’s office decision. I really have nothing to do with that type of decision, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen 100 percent, but I read the same names that you read. I got concerned.”
With a stellar lineup and starting pitching rotation that make them a legitimate World Series favorite, the Tigers have too much at stake to not plan for the worst.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty facing this situation, which concerned me, especially with our scenario in trying to win a championship,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t really know what’s going to happen as far as timing is concerned, but I also think that when there’s enough things that are being discussed, you get a little bit concerned about those things.”
The general manager said the trade still could have happened without the Peralta-Biogenesis situation, but given the timing of the announcement – after midnight Tuesday – it seems logical to conclude that the possible looming suspension had quite a bit to do with the move.
“It contributes,” Dombrowski acknowledged, “but also we would not have made a deal that we didn’t feel comfortable making to this magnitude unless this type of player was involved coming back.”
Dombrowski maintained that Peralta is still the Tigers shortstop and would remain so until mandated otherwise.
“Peralta’s our shortstop unless he is ruled not our shortstop,” he said.
Dombrowski said the Tigers could have used infielders already in their system if an issue like a short-term injury to a starting player cropped up, but he said the team needed more depth in case of a longer absence.
Hence the signing of Iglesias.
“If you’re talking about 15 days disablement, we’re prepared for that,” Dombrowski said. “They prepare you for 15 days. 50 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 where we feel comfortable that somebody can go out there and play.”