A little less than two months ago, it was reported that the Detroit Tigers were entertaining the thought of acquiring Chicago Cubs shortstop Darwin Barney as well as outfielder Nate Schierholtz. Although it appeared to be a decent enough idea at the time, the Tigers neglected to make a move for either player, and it appears that they made a very wise decision.
Schierholtz, who had a breakout season in 2013 by batting .251 with 21 home runs and posting a .770 OPS, is only hitting a mere .200 this year with zero home runs. Barney’s batting average is hovering below the Mendoza Line at the moment, as he is only batting .176 entering play on Wednesday.
Furthermore, although Schierholtz would have most likely only have been a one-year rental as he is slated to become a free agent after this season, he may have cost the Tigers a talented young prospect or two as the Cubs were likely looking to sell high on the 30-year-old after his career year. If the Tigers had acquired Barney, they might have been stuck with him for quite a while as he is not eligible for free agency until 2017.
Although it has been unsightly at times, the Tigers have been able to survive the losses of left fielder Andy Dirks and shortstop Jose Iglesias up to this point. It appears that the players the Tigers have gone to as replacements have given the team more than Schierholtz and Barney could have.
Andrew Romine has done a terrific job defensively since becoming the starting shortstop after the release of Alex Gonzalez, even though three or four singles per week is about all one can expect out of his bat. Rajai Davis, who has been getting the majority of the starts in left field, got off to a sizzling start, but he has been cooling down as of late. However, Dirks’ return may only be approximately one month away.
It may actually turn out that the Tigers were very wise to leave the door open for Dirks to come back. Although he had a slow season last year, he still has a big upside and is only two years removed from batting .322 through 88 games for the Tigers. It is not out of the realm of possibility that new hitting coach Wally Joyner could help get him back on track, which would help the team tremendously.
At any rate, it now appears that Schierholtz and Barney would have been mistakes for the Tigers, and they are likely very thankful to have not traveled down that road.