Ausmus: Drew never serious option for Tigers
CLEVELAND -- The Stephen Drew countdown ended about two weeks early, before the Tigers or any team besides the Red Sox could get involved. The way manager Brad Ausmus characterized the situation, Drew never became a serious consideration for Detroit.
After several weeks of waiting for the right situation, Drew found it with his old club, signing a one-year deal with Boston on Tuesday. By re-signing, Drew didn't require a Draft pick as compensation. The Tigers would have had to give up their first-round pick, 23rd overall, to sign him anytime before the start of the First-Year Player Draft on June 5.
The idea, Ausmus said, never progressed far.
"I know it's been talked about a lot [publicly]," Ausmus said, "but it really hasn't been discussed internally."
Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team never made an offer for Drew.
Part of that could have been timing. The June 5 date gave the Tigers a natural buffer zone to let their own situation play out.
The other, and more pressing, factor is defense. While Tigers shortstops have struggled mightily at the plate, producing a .470 OPS that ranks last among Major League teams at the position, they've done their job in the field. It was defense that the Tigers prioritized at the spot since Jose Iglesias went on the disabled list.
Defensively, Ausmus said he's satisfied.
"You take it into account," Ausmus said of offense, "but when you have a defender like that at a premium defensive position, there's a little slack cut."
How long that slack is provided remains to be seen. Andrew Romine had Tuesday off after his 0-for-17 streak dropped his average for the season to .179. It stood at .250 on May 4 before he went 2-for-30. Danny Worth, who usually starts against left-handed pitchers, started Tuesday against righty Trevor Bauer, carrying a .250 (6-for-24) average.
Whenever Dombrowski has talked about shortstop, he has indicated that their first options are internal. Coincidence or not, they shuffled their shortstop prospects Tuesday night, promoting slick-fielding Eugenio Suarez from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo.
Suarez ended Tuesday batting .284 with an .850 OPS, including a 13-for-35 stretch over his last 10 games. He made an impression on Tigers officials in Spring Training once Iglesias fell to injury, but the Tigers wanted to get him more seasoning before even considering the big leagues.
Barring a midseason trade, certainly a possibility considering the Tigers' track record, Suarez would be the most likely option if Detroit decided to make a change.