By Ashley Dunkak
Their playoff hopes on the line, the Detroit Tigers are taking a gamble.
Instead of keeping hotsthot shortstop Jose Iglesias in the lineup, the Tigers have replaced him with shortstop-turned-left fielder-turned-shortstop-again Jhonny Peralta.
Iglesias took over Peralta’s post when the slugger missed 50 games for violating MLB’s rules against using PEDs. To keep Iglesias and his stellar defense on the field, the Tigers had been playing Peralta in left field, a spot he had never worked until the last few weeks. Putting him there constituted a sacrifice of defense for offense, manager Jim Leyland admitted, but it was one the team was willing to accept.
Peralta has come through with multiple clutch hits so far, so the trade-off looked like a smart one.
Now, the Tigers are making a trade again – only this time it comes at one of the most important defensive spots on the field, and also one right next to where Miguel Cabrera plays at third. Since Cabrera can hardly run due to his abdominal and groin injuries, the Tigers might have benefited from Iglesias’ quickness and range, which enable him to cover more of the gap between second and third base.
Then again, Peralta had played the whole season at shortstop. If nothing else, though, taking out Iglesias, a phenomenal defensive presence who many consider a Rookie of the Year candidate, is another interesting twist of this ALDS.
Since Peralta will be back at shortstop, Donnie Kelly will take his spot in left field.