Jose Iglesias should be ready by now.
It has to be a thought that has crossed the mind of the Boston Red Sox’ management this winter. Instead of handing the reins to the shortstop position to Iglesias, Boston had to go out and sign Stephen Drew as a one-year stopgap–a very expensive stopgap, one that cost $9.5 million.
Certainly, signing Drew was not something the Red Sox imagined when they signed Iglesias to a major league four-year contract in 2009. The glove has always been there, but the bat has never caught up. This is a huge spring for Iglesias to make sure manager John Farrell and the new coaching staff takes notice of him, keeping him in mind for the position.
Iglesias is in danger of falling out of the team’s plans altogether after another poor year at the plate and with top prospect Xander Bogaerts coming quickly on his heels. The 23-year-old Cuban-born shortstop has struggled to show any real sign of improvement at the plate after three seasons in the minors playing in the Red Sox minor league system.
Iglesias’ glove is something that defensively can change games for the Red Sox pitching staff by saving hits and runs, but he has to be able to hold his own at the plate. During his 2012 season in the minors, he came to the plate 405 times and had only 12 extra-base hits, obviously casting doubt on his ability to produce at the major league level.
In today’s MLB, no team can afford to have an automatic out in the lineup, no matter how gifted they are defensively. His career minor league slash line of .264/.313/.314 slash line shows some ability to make contact, but little else.
This spring, it is up to Iglesias to force the Red Sox into a decision they hadn’t planned on making, moving Drew and giving the young defensive star a shot at the everyday job. At this moment, no one is going to give Iglesias anything. If he wants the shortstop job, he’ll need to go take it.
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