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Tigers trade rumors: Shortstop remains an issue for Detroit

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... unless Dave Dombrowski says it isn't.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Criticizing Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski is typically a good way to end up looking like an idiot. The Doug Fister trade seems to be working out pretty well, despite the sulfurous Internet explosion that followed it.

His club currently leads the AL Central by five games. They have leaned on strong starting pitching and the outstanding start Victor Martinez has put together in Prince Fielder's absence behind Miguel Cabrera. They could use some help in the bullpen, but for the most part, their biggest hole is at short.

After Jose Iglesias went down with shin injuries, the Tigers traded Steve Lombardozzi to the Orioles for 37-year-old shortstop Alex Gonzalez. If you're looking for a reason to criticize Dombrowski, there's your best shot. It didn't work out and the club let Gonzalez go. Danny Worth has filled in here and there, but Andrew Romine -- acquired from the Angels for right-hander Jose Alvarez -- has been the main replacement for Iglesias so far.

Romine, 28, has a pretty solid glove sat short, but he's hitting .179/.259/.192 ... enough said.

So, who might they target?

Bless You Boys' Jordan Gorosh lists Eugenio Suarez as an internal option, and Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Pennington, and Nick Franklin as potential trade targets. Rollins is a bit of a stretch, as Gorosh notes, because he has been adamant about staying in Philadelphia in the media.

The Mariners might not be itching to trade Franklin with Brad Miller hitting .158/.230/.259. They could make a deal involving Franklin, but since it's still early and they're right in the thick of the AL West race, they'd probably need to be wowed by Dombrowski to move him.

Pennington represents an upgrade over Romine if only for the fact that he's proven he can handle a bat at the major league level. He's not an excellent hitter by any means, but his career .247/.313/.349 batting line shows that he can be of some use offensively. It also doesn't hurt that the Diamondbacks are 18-29* and 10 and-a-half games back in the NL West.

The Tigers could also opt to target a few promising minor leaguers like the Rays' Hak-ju Lee or the Rangers' Luis Sardinas; or slightly older role players like the Rockies' Josh Rutledge, the Braves' Tyler Pastornicky, or the Nationals' Danny Espinosa.

No matter how the team decides to address the issue, the Tigers appear to be the easy favorite in the AL Central once again. So, don't worry, Detroit ... just leave it to Dombrowski.