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Red Sox leaning toward Jose Iglesias as starting shortstop

Nov 9, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

iglesias wide Getty Images

Boston traded away Mike Aviles in the deal for manager John Farrell and the free agent shortstop class is an extremely weak one, so not surprisingly it looks like the Red Sox are planning to have 22-year-old rookie Jose Iglesias as their starting shortstop in 2013.

Nothing is set in stone, of course, but general manager Ben Cherington said acquiring another shortstop is on the “back-burner” behind more pressing needs and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that Iglesias stepping forward to claim the full-time job “is clearly what they are hoping will happen.”

“We think Jose is ready to help the major league team, depending on what the rest of the team looks like,” Cherington said, adding that “nobody is going to be given anything” and “if he’s given an opportunity to win the job in spring training, then he’ll have to win the job.”

Iglesias is an elite defender capable of making some truly spectacular plays, but there are major questions about his bat. He’s hit just .251 with two homers and a .589 OPS in 189 games at Triple-A and batted .135 in 35 games for the Red Sox.

  1. bigleagues - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    “We think Jose is ready to help the major league team”

    is code for

    “Jose is a Major League Shortstop and because we have Bogaerts fast approaching MLB ready and Marrero in the pipeline, and thus playing stone-faced poker on Stephen Drew – Iglesias is more than expendable in a trade scenario. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.”

  2. homelanddefense - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Please god no….this kid cant hit. He will never hit in the majors. They should have traded him a few years ago when his value was super high

  3. whatthehellisansky - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    What about that kid Ciriaco (spelling?) – He killed the Yanks every time we played the Sawx this yr

    • paperlions - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      SSS

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Okay, I’ll expand. Ciriaco is 27, and though he had a nice run for a month or two, his final 2012 numbers were right in line with his career numbers (below average OBP, a tad of power), which got him cut by Pittsburgh. He’s a bench player on a good team…at best.

  4. sincitybonobo - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    After the Chavez Ravine quarter-billion dollar bailout, I can’t imagine Sox fans being OK with the big club attempting to save money by paying the league minimum to a slick fielding rookie who hasn’t demonstrated the ability to hit his weight in The Show.

    Ned, Stan and Magic gave you guys a gift. Spend wisely. Ortiz was a nice start.

    • paperlions - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      That’s the point. There is no one to spend it on. Spending money on below league average player just to say you did something would be stupid. Iglesias may be able to hit eventually, he’s been young at every level and was aggressively pushed through the system by the RS. His bat is certainly behind, but he hasn’t been given any chance for it to catch up…it may, or it may not, there isn’t any way to know until given a chance….anyone remember what a young Jose Reyes was like at the plate? Total disaster, but he figured it out once given a chance.

      • sincitybonobo - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        His bat can progress at Pawtuckett. Drew may be available on cheap, make-good one year deal. Bartlett or Gonzalez could be had cheap as a stopgap.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        If only he had a mentor….

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        Those are potential upgrades without a purpose. This isn’t a team that is 1 or 2 wins short of competing…they are a dozen wins short. They need real OF options, a 1B, and a ton of pitching help.

        Bartlett isn’t any good. He’s 33, a horrible fielder, and hasn’t hit a lick since 2009. I will bet that Iglesias’ glove provides more value that Bartlett could on offense and defense combined (because his defense is a negative).

        Drew had horrific ankle injuries. It isn’t clear his mobility will ever get back to what it was, affecting his defense (which was never elite to begin with). His bat has never been that good…solid at times, but not since 2010.

        Alex Gonzalez? The on-base challenged 35 yr old that missed most of last year with a torn ACL?

        None of those guys is a clear upgrade…so why waste the money and roster spot?

      • sincitybonobo - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Asdrubal Cabrera is reportedly on the block, but he wouldn’t come cheap. Aviles wasn’t great, but I’d rather have him for a full season than Iglesias. His bat is not just below average- but possibly the worst in the league. Any of the above listed wouldn’t be an All Star, but they would be an improvement over the 2013 version of Iglesias without breaking the bank. How many big league jobs are handed to guys with Iglesias’ numbers? And can the Sox genuinely say they are competing in the AL East gauntlet if he repeats his .200 OBP from last season?

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        I think you are mis-judging a few things.

        1) The value of good defense at SS. The guys you are looking at will all be below average defenders or worse.

        2) The fact that old guys tend to get worse and young guys tend to get better. The guys you are suggesting are likely to be out machines without much power while providing horrible defense. Such players really aren’t useful on an MLB roster.

        Again, the Red Sox have a crap ton of holes. SS is one, but the available options would represent between -1 and +1 changes in their expected number of wins….they just aren’t guys with any upside at all. So making such a move has very limited positive effect, while wasting a roster spot.

  5. poprox13 - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Looks like 2013 is really going to be a bridge year :(

  6. sincitybonobo - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Agreed that they are a whole lot more than a shortstop away from playing in October. But, again, with the money they saved last August, no team is in a better position to upgrade at key positions.

  7. sidelineshot - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    To those knocking Iglesias about his lack of hitting … check out Ozzie Smith’s numbers when he got started.
    All I know is that Iglesias is going to save you plenty of runs with his glove.

    • poprox13 - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      but leave more runs stranded on the basepaths…….

    • 1baseballfan - Nov 9, 2012 at 5:23 PM

      Ozzie had one year in the minors.
      His triple slash at age 22 level A was .303/.391/.362 with 30 stolen bases in 68 games (and 12! strikeouts).

      Iglesias at age 22 AAA was .266/.318/.306 with 12 SB in 88 games.

      The top fielding shortstop in the majors (Fangraphs) saved about 15 runs this year.
      Iglesias will have to start hitting to remain in the majors.

  8. edelmanfanclub - Nov 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    he’s an amazing fielder. Ill take his glove and .240 avg anyday. The sad part is. He hit .118. He’s not ready offensively. But unless we sign drew or alex gonzalez id rather him out there. He’s probably going down to pawtucket after he hits .100 in april though.

    • sincitybonobo - Nov 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Exactly. Even a gold glove year at SS won’t come close to compensating for his bat.

  9. Jeremy Fox - Nov 9, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    This sounds rather like the Phillies with Galvis at 2B last year. The Phils eventually decided his undoubtedly-slick glove didn’t compensate sufficiently for his poor bat. From the sound of things, Iglesias could well hit even worse than Galvis did.

  10. cogitobaseballergosum - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    I hear there’s a shortstop named Valentine who’s looking for work.

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