In Spring Training, Danny Worth was mentioned as one of several internal candidates to fill the Detroit Tigers‘ shortstop vacancy that was created when Jose Iglesias was lost for perhaps the entire year. However, in spite of the fact that the 28-year-old Worth hit .302 with a home run and 10 RBIs this spring, the Tigers decided to go in a different direction and Worth was sent back down to the minors.
Since going down to triple-A Toledo, Worth has continued tearing the cover off of the ball. He currently has a slash line of .313/.353/.417 with five doubles through his first 13 games. He has, however, been playing mostly second base this season as opposed to shortstop. That said, he is still more than capable of being a solid defender at the shortstop position, and he would have likely provided better defense than Alex Gonzalez has thus far.
Gonzalez has struggled mightily with both the glove and the bat this season, which has understandably created a great deal of concern among Tigers fans. Furthermore, the 37-year-old Gonzalez has not played in a full season since 2011 and has not had a truly productive season at the plate since 2010, when he combined for 23 home runs and 88 RBIs while splitting time between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves.
At his age, the jury is still out on whether or not he will be able to turn around the rocky start to his season and recapture the magic of his youth.
The light-hitting Andrew Romine is the only player currently on the Tigers’ 25-man roster who could potentially replace Gonzalez as the starting shortstop, but few see him as an everyday solution. That said, Romine and Worth might combine to give the Tigers a stronger Band-Aid to their shortstop problem than he and Gonzalez currently are.
The most attractive solution to the Tigers’ shortstop predicament remains signing Stephen Drew to a one-year deal, but the Tigers seemingly are not willing to give up a first-round draft pick in order to do so. They may change their mind after the June draft when they will no longer have to surrender the pick, but in the meantime, they might be wise to consider giving Worth another chance if he continues to perform well at triple-A and Gonzalez continues to struggle.