The Boston Red Sox needed some starting pitching and needed it pretty badly. Clay Buchholz was out for months and, at the time, no one knew when or if he was coming back. Jon Lester was struggling. Those are the two pitchers projected to be at the top of the rotation. Boston really had to go out and get another quality starting pitcher and they did in Jake Peavy. However, by doing so, they traded Jose Iglesias, who probably will end up winning the AL Rookie of the Year, which would be a first.
No player in history has ever won Rookie of the Year and been traded within that season. I don’t think it is all that close in terms of any other candidates. You know about his defense, but let’s talk about it anyways. Quite simply, he is the best defensive shortstop in baseball and he might be one of the best defensive shortstops to play in a very, very long time. Ozzie Smith was the best. Omar Vizquel was second. Iglesias would probably be third, in my eyes. He makes plays that are just absolutely ridiculous. Boston may have been a little spoiled in the short time that he was there because we saw him every day. But now, he seems to keep on popping up on highlight films and one can see that he really has a “once in a generation” kind of glove.
The part of Iglesias’ game that was the most surprising was his offense. A lot of people in the Boston organization were very worried if he would be able to hit at all and last year … he didn’t. However, working with Dustin Pedroia during the offseason and putting on some weight seemed to make Iglesias stronger and it showed right away in one of the first spring training games when he hit a home run. Iglesias seemed to have an uncanny ability to get infield hit after infield hit and he had an average well above .300 for the entire time he was with Boston this year.
He was sent down for a period of time and seemed to regress a bit. However, he may be one of those players that for whatever reason seem to just perform a lot better in the majors than in the minors. Once he was called up again, he just kept on hitting and hitting and of course making one dazzling play after another. With his otherworldly defense and his surprising offense, it would be a shock if he weren’t Rookie of the Year.
Boston sold high by being able to get Peavy for him. However, I just can’t get over that nagging feeling that while we are getting another year out of Peavy, we are going to be watching Iglesias make dazzling play after dazzling play for the Detroit Tigers for the next twenty years. Xander Bogaerts is going to be one kind of special player, but wouldn’t it have been something to have both of them?
Enjoy what you got, Detroit. Best glove you will ever see.