The Detroit Tigers are a playoff built team with a need at shortstop after losing defensive wizard Jose Iglesias for most, if not all of the 2014 season due to stress fractures in his shins. And as is often the case with teams in their position, they're anxious to find a sure way to replace such an important piece in their puzzle. It has become priority No 1.
Earlier in the week, general manager Dave Dombrowski acquired Andrew Romine from the Los Angeles Angels in a minor deal to give them some added depth. He’s expected to battle internal options Hernan Perez and Danny Worth for playing time, but none are really viewed as long-term answers. The Stephen Drew option also exists, though one has to believe if there were any strong mutual interest there a deal would have been worked up rather quickly.
That leaves the Tigers with just their three current options, but it sounds as though a fourth option was considered this week, perhaps only briefly, when the team talked to 46-year-old first base coach Omar Vizquel about coming out of retirement.
When we asked their manager, Brad Ausmus, Saturday morning if he'd given any thought to an Omar Vizquel comeback, Ausmus actually uttered these four words:
"We talked about it."
That doesn’t shed much light on how serious the conversations were, but any time you have big dreams, a big need, and an experienced, yet ageless person qualified to fill the position at your disposal, it’s a natural conversation to have. Even if it starts out as tongue-in-cheek, once the competitive blood gets flowing anything can happen.
"He probably could do it part-time," Ausmus said of Vizquel, who finally retired after the 2012 season, after 24 seasons in the big leagues. "But then I'd have to go find a first-base coach."
Well, those are certainly much easier to find than an every day or even a part-time shortstop, but the Tigers search will have to continue on.
If anything, though, Vizquel’s expertise may help in the development of their young shortstop crop. It can’t hurt, anyway. And hey, if things don’t start out well, there’s always time to reopen conversations.
For now, we'll file it away as highly unlikely. But just to be safe we'll keep the case open and on the table.
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