CLEVELAND -- On the same day Stephen Drew ceased to be a shortstop option for the Tigers, Eugenio Suarez moved one step closer to becoming one in the near future. The Tigers promoted their slick-fielding shortstop prospect from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo late Tuesday night, moving the 22-year-old Venezuelan within an hour of Detroit.
The move came after Suarez went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs for the SeaWolves, raising his average to .284 (44-for-155) with an .850 OPS, 14 doubles, six home runs and 29 RBIs. It also came after Drew signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox, taking him off the free-agent market.
By all indications, the Tigers were never seriously involved on Drew, who would've cost Detroit their first-round pick unless they waited until June 5, the first day of the First-Year Player Draft. Manager Brad Ausmus said Drew was never a topic of serious internal discussion, while team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers never made Drew an offer.
Suarez, on the other hand, has been viewed as a potential option if the Tigers wanted to make a midseason change at short. He made a big impression on Tigers officials with his performance in Spring Training, both before and after the degree of Jose Iglesias' injury became clear, but everyone agreed that he needed more seasoning, as much for his bat as his glove. He started out at Erie once the Tigers decided to give Hernan Perez, their potential second baseman of the future, a look at shortstop.
Tuesday's move gives the Tigers a chance to look at Suarez at a higher level in case they have a decision to make this summer. He'll serve as the everyday shortstop for the Mud Hens. Perez, meanwhile, will primarily play at second base, with some occasional starts at shortstop and third base to keep his versatility fresh.
"It may come in handy later on," assistant GM Al Avila said in an email.