With Jose Iglesias hampered by stress fractures, stories continue to swirl around the Detroit Tigers regarding their possible moves to fill the need at shortstop. Free agent Stephen Drew is available, but other names being thrown about are Tyler Pastornicky, Troy Tulowitzki–and Pete Kozma.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman is the latest to include the St. Louis Cardinals as a possible trade partner, with Kozma headed to Motown.
A deal makes sense in that Detroit has a need and Kozma is fighting to make the roster with the addition of free agents Jhonny Peralta and Mark Ellis, and Daniel Descalso capable of playing not only shortstop, but also second and third coming off the bench.
The Tigers may have a clear need, but that doesn’t mean a top prospect such as Nick Castellanos or Steven Moya is going to be given away—especially for a player that is fighting to stay on the big league roster. It’s also not clear if Iglesias will be out a couple of weeks or the entire season.
While there is always the potential of putting together a larger deal with more players involved, if a trade were to be worked out a better example to draw from may be the 2012 move of Skip Schumaker to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Though a very different player with a much more accomplished resume, at the time of the trade, Schumaker had essentially been relegated to one of the last off the bench—the same role Kozma is currently fighting for.
As you may recall, the Cardinals received Jake Lemmerman—a Double-A shortstop in exchange from the Dodgers for Schumaker.
Lemmerman hit .231 in 98 games at Springfield (AA) and is now in the San Diego Padres organization after being selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
And to his credit, Kozma has struck out only three times in 26 at-bats this spring—a result of his work on shortening his swing this offseason. Pete has also delivered a couple of pinch-hits, which would be key in a bench role. With a week and half left in the Grapefruit League, Kozma is keeping himself in consideration.
None of that may drive up his trade value—but it may increase the Cardinals desire to keep him around—even at Memphis as extra insurance if an injury or performance warrants a call back to the big leagues.