By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – After Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski announced the acquisition of Jose Iglesias late Tuesday night, he gave a spiel that set high standards for the former Boston Red Sox third baseman.
“Our scouting reports have him as an All-Star shortstop,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t know if he’ll be that or not, but some of our scouting reports do. But somebody that has seen him play just sent me a note and said, ‘For all my years in the game, the only two defensive shortstops I’ve seen that are better are Ozzie and Vizquel.’”
Ozzie as in Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, and VIzquel as in 11-time Gold Glove recipient Omar VIzquel.
“I don’t know if he’s that good or not because I haven’t seen him play, but that’s somebody that’s seen him play a lot,” Dombrowski said.
He relayed another ringing endorsement of Iglesias that came from Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
“He said, ‘I know you have seen a lot of players play shortstop in your career, but you will see this guy make plays that you have never seen before,’” Dombrowski said.
Iglesias is batting .330 with a .377 on-base percentage and has six errors in 97 games over three seasons in the majors.
Dombrowski said Iglesias can play second base as well as third and shortstop. Current Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is in danger of being suspended because of alleged involvement with the Biogenesis scandal, and it sounds like Dombrowski has all but moved on.
“I’m not anointing our club for next year, but we think [Iglesias is] ready to be our shortstop,” Dombrowski said. “I’ll be surprised if he’s not our shortstop. We’re not going to look for another shortstop, but I’m not ready to anoint him that at this time. But we really like him a lot.”
Since Peralta is a free agent after this season, the Tigers had already been researching shortstops, Dombrowski said, but they were not willing to trade a great prospect for a shortstop that would only be a response to Peralta’s possible suspension.
“I didn’t want to do that for a guy who was here for two months,” Dombrowski said, “but a guy who might, probably, be our shortstop for, I don’t know how many years when you get past free agency, but that can play shortstop the next half-dozen years here, that’s a very valuable person.”