D-Backs SS Stephen Drew on Tigers’ radar

Jon Paul Morosi

The Tigers are in the market for middle infield depth and have shown interest in Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew, major league sources told FOXSports.com.

And those sources continue to indicate that Drew is among the (many) Arizona players who will be in play before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

Interested clubs will pay especially close attention to Drew in the coming weeks. He was recently absent from the lineup because of a sore left knee and has only 13 at-bats in the team’s last eight games.

Drew would be an offensive upgrade for the Tigers, who have had the second-worst shortstop production in the American League (.586 OPS). He would also be a long-term fit. Detroit doesn’t have a set No. 2 hitter or everyday shortstop for the 2011 season; Drew, who won’t be a free agent until 2012, could fill both roles.

The Tigers’ middle infield depth has thinned since the start of the season. Adam Everett, the Opening Day shortstop, was released last month. Scott Sizemore, the Opening Day second baseman, is on the Triple-A disabled list with a hip strain.

Ramon Santiago and rookie Danny Worth are currently splitting time at shortstop, with veteran Carlos Guillen at second base. The arrangement has worked in the short term for the first-place Tigers, even though Worth is batting just .178 over his last 17 games. But the team is also cognizant of Guillen’s injury history.

Guillen has already missed more than one month of the season with a strained hamstring. A recurrence of the injury would be problematic for the Tigers, who would be left with a middle infield of Santiago, Worth and utility man Ryan Raburn.

By acquiring middle infield depth now, the Tigers would effectively obtain an insurance policy to use if Guillen goes on the disabled list after the trade deadline. Other trade possibilities include Willie Bloomquist (Royals), Mike Fontenot (Cubs) and Ryan Theriot (Cubs), but it’s unclear if the Tigers are involved in active discussions on those players.