Worth, who started at shortstop and batted ninth in today’s game, went 1-3 with a double and scored the Tigers’ lone run on a Victor Martinez single. He is now batting .333 in Spring Training. His biggest competitors in camp, Eugenio Suarez and Hernan Perez, each entered Thursday batting a mere .200.
The now 28-year-old Worth has seen time with the Tigers in each of the past four seasons, but he has simply never been able to stick around. He seemed to strike a new low in 2013, as he batted just .220 in the minor leagues while splitting time between High-A Lakeland and Triple-A Toledo. He saw only two plate appearances at the major league level, and struck out in one of them.
It is needless to say that Worth was not very high on anyone’s radar this offseason, but the Tigers are now finding themselves in dire need of a shortstop, as Jose Iglesias could conceivably miss the entire 2014 season. The question, of course, is whether or not the Tigers believe that Worth is capable of being the man for the job.
The Tigers have also recently been rumored to have interest in trading for Nick Franklin of the Seattle Mariners, or Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs. Barney may be a better defender than Worth, while Franklin most likely has the edge on Worth offensively, as he possesses a little more thunder in his bat and can hit for more power. Worth strikes an interesting balance between these two players, as he will not “wow” anybody with his bat or his glove. Instead, he has the ability to be average on both sides of the ball.
It is important to note that all of the reports have suggested that the Tigers are more interested in having a solid defensive shortstop, and are not necessarily looking to add another powerful bat, as they believe that their lineup is formidable enough. Whether or not Worth gets the job will most likely be contingent on how well the Tigers believe he can catch the ball rather than how well he can hit it.
On the defensive side, Worth is certainly not Iglesias at shortstop, but he does have a decent glove. He made just eight errors at that position last season in the minor leagues, and he has a lifetime .958 fielding percentage at shortstop in the minors.
At any rate, if Worth continues to perform well over the next week or so, he will certainly force the Tigers to at least consider him to be their everyday shortstop in 2014. If the Tigers do decide to go with Worth, it could turn out to be one of the greatest stories of the 2014 season.