The Detroit Tigers may currently be in first place in the AL Central, but they still have many flaws that need to be addressed. Fortunately, there is a 31-year-old veteran named Stephen Drew who is remarkably still on the free agent market, and he could potentially help the Tigers solve at least two of their problems.
For starters, Drew would give the Tigers a dependable everyday shortstop. In the wake of the news that Jose Iglesias may miss the entire 2014 season, the Tigers neglected to sign Drew, and instead went out and acquired a couple of fringe shortstops in Alex Gonzalez and Andrew Romine. The Tigers obviously hoped that the duo would be able to hold down the fort until Iglesias returns, but after witnessing the shortcomings of these two players, the Tigers would now be very wise to consider bringing in someone they know could stabilize the position such as Drew.
Gonzalez may have come up with the game winning hit on Opening Day, but he also made a crucial error and his defense is likely to be shaky all season long. Furthermore, the 37-year-old Gonzalez is now batting just .250 and has not batted .250 or higher in a full season since 2010. Romine may have a nice glove, but he is essentially an automatic out at the plate. He is now batting a mere .083.
Drew would not only give the Tigers a rather sturdy defender at shortstop, but he would also give the team another left-handed bat, which they could desperately use at the moment. Through eight games, Don Kelly still has the second most hits of any left-handed hitter on the Tigers’ 25-man roster with three.
It would obviously be an unexpected bonus if Drew could hit the .291 he hit in 2008 or the .278 he hit in 2010. However, just batting the .253 he hit last year for the Boston Red Sox with double-digit home run pop would be an enormous improvement over every left-handed hitter that the Tigers currently have, other than switch-hitting Victor Martinez.
Therefore, one does have to ask whether or not it is possible that the Tigers may still be entertaining the thought of bringing Drew to the Motor City. The biggest reason why Drew remains unsigned at this point is simply because inking him to a deal before the June draft would mean surrendering a first-round pick. That said, the Tigers may not be able to wait until June.
The general consensus among Tigers fans is that 2014 is something of a make-or-break year. There are few who are counting on Max Scherzer to be pitching in Detroit in 2015, and it seems unlikely that the Tigers will retain both Martinez and Torii Hunter.
It is unclear how much patience the Tigers are going to have with Gonzalez and Romine this season, but Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski would make a lot of Tigers fans happy by going out and signing Drew to a one-year deal before someone else does.