The 2012 Detroit Tigers season was filled with emotional swings between disappointment and success that ultimately ended in the disheartening sweep in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants.
After the signing of Prince Fielder, the expectations set for this team were championship or bust, and they still are.
The team struggled the entire season to clinch the weak AL Central and needed a surge at the end of the season to do so. When the playoffs began, the Tigers seemed to finally meet their lofty preseason expectations by defeating the incredibly hot Oakland Athletics and sweeping the New York Yankees in the ALCS, exposing them as frauds.
Detroit’s success however, left as quickly as it arrived in the World Series, as the favored Tigers were embarrassed in a four-game set with the Giants. After the season, the Tigers have made every effort to improve their weaknesses enabling them to reach their championship desires.
The team allowed disappointments, Delmon Young and Jose Valverde, to walk and signed Torii Hunter to attempt to fill the holes in their line-up.
The team has been faced with a difficult decision with what to do with shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who showed flashes of impactful play but it was over-shadowed by his under-whelming play for the majority of the season. The Tigers picked up the one-year option on Peralta’s contract and this appeared to answer the questions of doubt.
Recently however, the Tigers have shown great interest in free agent shortstop Stephen Drew. The Tigers are indicating that they are intent on up-grading their shortcomings this off-season and the acquisition of Drew could lead to dramatic improvement for a team on the cusp of glory.
Peralta played very well during the first two series of the 2012 playoffs, making key contributions to the team’s success during this time. The issue was that this play was not frequent enough for a World Series Championship.
Peralta, coming off a career year in 2011 was expected to be a major contributor to the team but proved to be more of a detriment to the team offensively and defensively. The Tigers are a team that is looking for consistent production from their role players so the leaders can be fully effective.
Drew has proven to been a consistent offensive player and a remarkable defender. The signing of Drew would be an improvement both offensively and defensively and would greatly increase the production of this team.
The batting average is quite even between the two (Peralta a career .264 BA and Drew .265 BA) but Drew does little things with his at-bats that Peralta cannot do, which could be the difference between winning and losing.
Drew, in 2012, struck out 29 fewer times than Peralta and also grounded into 18 fewer double plays. Also, Drew holds more productive career post-season offensive numbers, besting Peralta in BA and OBP. These offensive advances are over-powered only by the defensive improvements the signing of Drew would create.
When Miguel Cabrera moved to third-base, the team traded defensive range for offensive production. This sacrifice proved to be critical for both sides by bolstering the offensive numbers but also allowing for some crippling defensive mistakes to be made.
With a limited area being covered by Cabrera, the team desperately needed their shortstop to be able to cover more ground than usual. Peralta was able to make some great plays from the short stop position especially in the playoffs, but proved range wise, to be one of the more limited short stops in baseball. Many balls were hit up the gaping hole on the left side of the infield that do not get through on most teams.
Drew has established himself as one of the best infielders with the defensive ability to get to groundballs. This great range combined with a solid arm should prove to benefit the Tigers’ reputation as one of the worst defensive teams in the AL.
The pitching staff will also benefit from this signing, specifically groundball pitcher Doug Fister. If the Tigers do sign Drew, the question of what to do with the recently re-signed Peralta arises.
Even though Drew is an upgrade, Peralta is still a valuable player to many teams in the MLB proven by the many teams that have shown interest in Peralta since the rumors of the Drew signing started.
The team showing the most interest is Drew’s former team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have been recently involved in talks of trading their young star Justin Upton, a player who the Tigers could really benefit from adding.
The Tigers best bet would be to package Rick Porcello, who is an experienced pitcher and is still young but has been too inconsistent for a World Series contender to trust. Peralta and either top outfield prospect Avisail Garcia or Nick Castellanos for Upton.
Upton would benefit the Tigers by bringing a highly productive and speedy offensive game. Also the combination of Upton, Jackson and Hunter would give the Tigers the best offensive and defensive outfield in the MLB. Arizona would also improve their team by adding a young, talented pitcher and outfielder and a veteran to anchor their infield.
The possible results from the signing Drew are enough to make Tigers fans salivate. This signing and possible trade would fix the teams most obvious weaknesses of defensive incompetence and speed. It would require some of the team’s best young talent, but a World Series championship run in the 2013 season is the most pertinent thing to the fans, players and team’s owner.
These improvements of the roster and championship hope all begin with the acquisition of Drew and could be the difference between another disappointing season or the Tigers’ first World Series victory since 1984.
Original article: Stephen Drew Could Be the Difference-Maker for the Tigers©2012 FootBasket. All Rights Reserved.The post Stephen Drew Could Be the Difference-Maker for the Tigers appeared first on FootBasket.