Tigers shortstop future far from certain

With the Tiger bullpen troubles of late there has been one trade rumor that has been less talked about and that is the need to bring in an additional shortstop. This was the focus of an article in the Detroit Free Press yesterday as well as a quick Q&A today though both focus on immediate needs:

Why would the Tigers need a shortstop? Well, Omar Infante, the club’s only active reserve with experience at the position, has made two errors in seven games at shortstop — the same number he committed in 42 games at his other positions combined. Neifi Perez, currently suspended for a positive amphetamines test, has an uncertain future.

This is all very well and true but there is an even more long-term reason that Dombrowski is needing a someone who can fill in a shortstop role. That reason is because Carlos Guillen’s tenure at shortstop is coming to an end.

I was as happy as anyone when Guillen was signed for another 4-years but there shouldn’t be an illusion that he will remain in his current role when he is 33, 34 or 35. This has been no secret and before the season there was quite a bit of buzz on Chris Shelton being a major trade possibility if the Carlos Guillen contract was signed. This possibility of dealing Shelton could become quite real again in the next few days.

From the article, the Tigers are eying Clint Barmes who is currently playing with the Colorado Rockies Triple-A team. Clint is a low-cost, low-risk and could possibly pay off but is far from a sure shot. He had a good year in 2005 batting .289/.330/.434 and placed 8th in RoY voting before taking a large step back in 2006 hitting .220/.264/.335. He’s now doing well with the Triple-A Sky Sox where he’s playing with ex-Tiger Alexis Gomez.

A player like Clint Barmes would fill the Tigers immediate needs in a backup SS should an injury happen to Guillen but not fill a long-term need. This leaves the current hopes in a possible different trade or Ramon Santiago (no real chance here), Tony Giarratano (long shot) or Brent Dlugach, all of which are currently injured. Dombrowski has some work ahead of him working out the Detroit future infield beyond 2007.

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