It’s Time To Pencil Iglesias Into The Red Sox’ Long Term Future
Jose Iglesias has been sort of an enigma since being signed by the Red Sox back in 2009. He came highly touted from Cuba and was considered one of the best defensive shortstop prospects to come to the majors in a generation. His hitting prospects were suspect but people were willing to overlook that for his defense. For 3 seasons Iglesias toiled in the Red Sox’ minor league system. He only managed to play in 35 games in the majors between 2010-2012. He only managed 10 hits in those appearances. Despite the poor offensive showing Iglesias flashed that glove as he was projected to do. While it looked like he had a chance to finally crack the starting lineup in 2013 the Red Sox decided to grab veteran Stephen Drew to be their starting shortstop late in the off-season and planned to have Iglesias start yet another year in AAA.
When Drew was concussed late in spring training Iglesias finally did get his shot in the show and he made the most of it. In the first 6 games of the year Iglesias went 9 for 20 with 2 doubles and 3 runs scored. When Drew got back Iglesias went down to Pawtucket where he apparently sulked at the demotion after his breakout start. As a result, in a move that may have been the best thing to ever happen to him, PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina sat Iglesias down for a few days for his attitude problems. The punishment seemed to light a fire under Iglesias and by time he came back to the majors to be a utility infielder the Sox just couldn’t keep him out of the lineup.
Iglesias is hitting .388 as of this writing. He’s played effective third base and shortstop. When I turn on talk radio I still hear people talking about “what we could get” for Iglesias. Here is a good answer for you – nothing. The Sox have a good, young player with a high upside so let’s keep him and play him for the next 10 years. Iglesias is only 23 and guys that he compares to favorably (Omar Vizquel, Rey Ordonez, etc.) played effective defensively well into their 30’s. Blazing speed isn’t a part of Iglesias game , he just has a very quick first step out of the batter’s box (perhaps one of the quickest that I’ve ever seen by a right-handed hitter). As he gains more confidence with his time against major league pitching maybe some more power and solid contact will come. For right now he has become a very effective producer at the bottom of the Red Sox lineup and a stand-out fielder.
The Red Sox failures at replacing Nomar Garciaparra at shortstop have been well-documented. Why get rid of a guy that might be able to finally fill that hole? Iglesias can even play 3rd if you want to keep top prospect Xander Boegarts there and perhaps move Will Middlebrooks over to first or use as a chip in a trade. Maybe Middlebrooks puts it together and you team him with Iglesias and move Boegarts somewhere else. Eitehr way one thing is for sure – it’s time to write Jose Iglesias’ name in the future of the Boston Red Sox. Not just with a pencil either – this time use a magic marker