Today the Red Sox have made 4 roster moves. John Lackey and Jose Iglesias have been removed from the big league roster and Alex Wilson and Stephen Drew have taken their place. Lackey was put on the DL due to a right bicep strain he suffered in his start against the Blue Jays. Iglesias was sent down to AAA Pawtucket in order to make room for Stephen Drew whose coming off the DL. Both these moves were expected, but some were hoping that neither would.
The most controversial move is sending down Iglesias. I mentioned the pros and cons on the subject the other day.
Stephen Drew is making his Red Sox debut today. I’m excited for him. He’ll be an interesting story line to follow throughout the season. I hope he has more success staying on the field than his brother did and more success in general for that matter.
John Lackey was thought to have a slim chance of staying off the DL, but was put on for precautionary reasons. It’s unfortunate that this has happened after coming all the back from Tommy John surgery and coming into the year, in what appeared to be, the best shape of his life. It’s a sad set of circumstances, but also just the nature of the game.
I was surprised when I heard it was Alex Wilson taking Lackey’s spot on the roster. I wasn’t too familiar with Wilson, but I had heard good things about him, but I had to do some digging myself. Wilson was a starter when he was drafted out of Texas A&M in 2009, but last year he converted to a reliever making 37 relief appearances for AAA Pawtucket, but also made 3 starts. He’s never put up spectacular numbers, but he has been remarkable consistent throughout all levels of the minors. He’s been able to keep an ERA around 3 and a K/9 around 8 even when starting or relieving in all levels of the minors. He did miss the 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. According to Sox Prospects, his ceiling appears to be a 7th inning reliever. I can’t wait to see his debut and hopefully he’ll be successful in what appears to be his short stint here.
- Red Sox’s Lackey to DL; Aceves gets spot (espn.go.com)
- Red Sox place pitcher John Lackey on disabled list; right biceps strain (gantdaily.com)
- Red Sox Place Lackey On DL, Call Up Alex Wilson (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Red Sox activate SS Drew, demote SS Iglesias, place RHP Lackey on DL, call up RHP Wilson (timescolonist.com)
It’s no secret that Jose Iglesias has surprised some people this year and been one of the most productive hitters in the Red Sox lineu
p in these first 3 games. Unfortunately for him he appears to be the odd man out going forward. With Stephen Drew close to returning from his concussion, the Sox need to make space on their roster. Obviously they’d like to replace an infielder with another infielder. The Sox won’t send down Pedroia, for obvious reasons, that leaves Pedro Ciriaco or Jose Iglesias to be sent down. But why would the Sox send down Iglesias, the starter, over Ciriaco? There’s more than one reason why.
The big issue here is options. Each player receives 3 minor league options when they make the big leagues for the first time. The first time someone is sent down in a season it uses an option. Any time after that, for that season, doesn’t use an option, but that rule took effect last year. Once a player is out of option they have to pass through waivers to be sent down and be claimed by any team. Pedro Ciriaco is out of options; Jose Iglesias is not. That alone is the biggest reason to send down Iglesias. It’s because they can send him down without the fear of losing him. Now you might say that Ciriaco is an unimportant part of the team, and you may be right, but he adds depth to the roster. He’s really the only guy on the team who fits the utility man role and losing him could leave a gaping hole on the bench especially if the injury prone Stephen Drew goes down again. You might wonder why isn’t Iglesias isn’t a good fit for the utility role. That’s because he just doesn’t have as much experience at any position other than short. Had Ciriaco not had broken out last season, sending him down, likely, wouldn’t be a problem, but then again had he not broken out he probably wouldn’t have made the team.
Another reason is that Iglesias needs at bats. His struggles at the plate have been well documented, and despite seeming to get over them, nothing will cause him to revert back to his old self more than not getting regular at bats. Iglesias’ bat is finally showing signs of life and the Sox would like to ride the hot streak for as long as possible. With every hit he should gain more confidence in his ability at the plate. If he is indeed sent down, then he can take what he’s learned from his short stint in the majors and refine it in the minors. If the Sox just bury him on the bench he’ll just lose the confidence he’s gained and could just turn into the Jose Iglesias that has disappointed us all for the past few years.
Now this isn’t to say Iglesias has no chance of staying on the team when Drew returns. After all, as the Red Sox have shown with Jackie Bradley Jr., they are wiling to make a decision that doesn’t make the best sense for the future, but to keep the best 25 guys on the roster. The Sox may even decide to start Iglesias over Drew if he proves to be more effective than him. All in all I think the best idea would be to go back in time and never sign Drew, but I don’t think that’s exactly plausible. But then again the Sox owners have a lot dough, so anything’s possible.
- Jose Iglesias Could Create Questions, Give Red Sox Options by Stepping Up in Stephen Drew’s Absence (nesn.com)
- Iglesias prepared for shot with Red Sox (mlb.mlb.com)
- Jackie Bradley Jr. Will Start in Left Field on Red Sox’ Opening Day Against Yankees (nesn.com)
- Jose Iglesias Puts Stranglehold on Opening Day Shortstop Job With Improved Offense, Usual Glove Work (nesn.com)
Stephen Drew has a concussion and the reports on him seem to get worse as each day passes by. He’s left the team to get further reports on his health and is expected to begin the season on the DL. With the money he’s getting on a one year deal it’s safe to say that this news is more than a little disappointing. Also this leaves a gaping hole in the position that hasn’t been found a permanent owner since Nomar occupied it and there isn’t exactly a plethora of option for the Sox to pick from.
Jose Iglesias: Iglesias is the favorite to get the job and his strong spring has bolstered his chance to make the team. Iglesias was projected to be the Red Sox shortstop in 2012 a few years back, but as we all know that did not happen. There has never been a question about his fielding ability, but his bat has raised several question marks. He’s yet prove he can be a productive hitter in the major league or really at any level for that matter. He did spend time working out with Dustin Pedroia this Winter and maybe that work has paid off and he can finally reach his full potential.
Pedros Ciriaco: Ciriaco stormed on to the scene last season when he played phenomenally in a short stretch at the end of the year. He is a great fastball hitter, but the second the pitch moves Ciriaco looks lost. Obviously with time he’ll be able to learn how to pick up the breaking ball, but do want to wait for that from your starting shortstop? If you want to wait for progression you might as well go with the top prospect in Iglesias. Like Iglesias there aren’t any questions with his defense. I can definitely see the Sox choosing Ciriaco to start at short I just question if it’d be the right choice.
Brock Holt: Holt is your traditional utility infielder. Can hold his own at every infield position, but won’t hit too much for you. Holt came over to the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan trade and was expected to battle with Ciriaco for the utility infielder spot and he has been outperformed by Ciriaco thus far and it doesn’t appear as if that’ll change. Odds are the only way he’s making the team is on the bench.
Xander Bogaerts: Bogaerts, whose name I’ll never be able to spell correctly on my first try, has about a 0.0000001% chance of starting the season as the Red Sox starting shortstop, (and that may be a stretch) but never say never I suppose. He’s one of, if not the, top prospects in the Red Sox system and has a lot of people excited about his future. He’s excelled at every level and appears to be just a couple of years away from being major league ready. MLB.com’s Jonathon Mayo believes that he’ll be ready for next year. The Sox could start him at the beginning of the season to see how he fares against top-level competition, but that would cause them to use an option and start his service time clock. Neither of those things are something the Sox want to do, so I highly doubt they would go this route.
- Stephen Drew Still Experiencing Concussion Symptoms, No Timetable Set for Shortstop’s Return (nesn.com)
- Boston Red Sox: Players Who Could Make the 25-Man Roster but Definitely Won’t (bleacherreport.com)
- Jose Iglesias Has Golden Opportunity to Become Red Sox’ Opening Day Shortstop With Stephen Drew Sidelined (nesn.com)
- Drew likely to see concussion specialist (mlb.mlb.com)
With this season becoming a lost cause now is the time to look to the future. The one spot that has been looked at since 2005 is shortstop. Ever since the Nomar trade everyone has wondered when we will get another quality shortstop. After Nomar the likes of Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Alex Cora, Alex Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie, Yamaico Navarro, Mike Aviles, Jose Igelsias, Pedro Ciriaco, Nick Punto, and others whose names aren’t coming to mind at the moment. Now you look at that list and are you impressed? Probably not. The Red Sox have been unable to develop or acquire a quality shortstop after they traded away the greatest shortstop in team history. No answers have been present over the past eight years, but the answer may come soon. Here’s a look at some guys who could be the next great Red Sox shortstop.
Mike Aviles: Aviles has been with the Red Sox since last season’s trade deadline and proven to be a fairly mediocre shortstop. So why is considered part the future? The answer is simple, he’s still young and has a lot to learn. He has decent power and if he becomes more disciplined hitter he could raise his OBP to one that is considered adequate for a shortstop. Now I don’t truly believe that Aviles is the answer, but you never know.
Pedro Ciriaco: He’s a long shot at best, but like I said with Aviles you never know. Ciriaco has been a bright spot in this tough season, but I don’t see him as an everyday player. He’s fast, he can hit, he plays solid defense but I don’t think he can pull it all together and become one of the top shortstops in the league. His biggest issue is his pitch recognition. He’ll swing at just about anything with one or two strikes on him and teams are starting to notice. If he doesn’t get a fastball to hit, odds are he’s striking out. Another issue is he treats every play like Usain Bolt is running down the line. Everything he does seems rushed and it hurts him sometimes. With all that said, he could magically reinvent himself into a disciplined player, but I doubt it.
Jose Iglesias: Iglesias was said to be the future of this team. Not just the next shortstop, but the next face of the franchise. He’s always just needed to learn to hit and then he’d be ready. The problem is he hasn’t learned yet. Could he become a perennial gold glove winner by next year? Yes. But can hit above .200 has an everyday player? I have my doubts. In 18 major league at bats he’s recorded just 2 hits. Now some would say he just needs to adapt to big league pitching, but if you look at his minor league numbers you wouldn’t be surprised by his major league struggles. In three minor league seasons his posted a slash line of .264/..313/.314 two homers and just thirty-nine extra base hits. That isn’t impressive at all. Without being able to put it together at the plate in the minors, what makes anyone think he can do it in the majors. I have no faith in Igelsias and I believe that it is warranted.
Xander Bogaerts: Widely considered to be the Sox top hitting prospect, Bogaerts figures to be an ideal candidate for the shortstop of the future. He’s just 19 years old, but he’s already tearing the cover off the ball in AA. In his three minor league seasons he has a slash line of .295/.366/.495 with 39 homers and 168 RBI. Those numbers are very good, but they don’t truly reflect Bogaerts. He struggled last year, but has bounced back in a huge way this year. He’s become a much more disciplined hitter this year and it has shown in his numbers. Despite moving up in the minors his numbers have improved which speaks volumes about his adaptability. The only issue with him being the shortstop of the future is that he’s said to have to big of a body for shortstop. He may be better suited to play third base or even left field according to some scouts. Overall I really like Bogaerts, but he might not work out as a shortstop.
Devin Marrero: Marreo was the Sox first round draft choice this year and could become the great shortstop for the Red Sox. He was just drafted so there isn’t much to go on as far as numbers go besides his college numbers, which probably don’t translate well. Over his three college seasons his numbers steadily got worse which is scary. He also has very little power, he had just 10 homers in college, and his fielding isn’t the greatest either. These concern me as well. The good thing is that with the right coaching he could fix theses flaws. Another good thing is that he can hit. He projects as a Dustin Pedroia kind of hitter which isn’t bad at all, but he isn’t expected quite as good as Pedroia. Pedroia has more power and is an all around better hitter. Marrero is a project, but it could be worthwhile in the end.
Elvis Andrus: This might seem crazy and it probably is, but I like it. Today, the Rangers called up their top prospect Jurickson Profar. He is the future shortstop of the Rangers, but where does that leave their current shortstop, Elvis Andrus. He’s an All Star with two more years of team control, but he’s being pushed out. He’s become expendable, so that’s where the Sox come in. He’s a dynamic player who brings quality defense, speed, and the ability to get on base. With a career .346 OBP we know he can get on base. With three 30+ stolen base seasons we know he can run. He’s the kind of guy this team needs. There guys in the Sox lineup who can drive in runs, so a guy who can get on base is a huge plus. He may have little to no power, but if he can score runs it’ll make up for that. If your still not sold on this move, here’s something that may get you on board. As I said earlier, he has two years remaining of team control. Now you may think this is irrelevant, but Xander Bogaerts will be ready in 2014. Now after one year of Andrus he can be traded away for around what we gave up for him, or he can be used as an insurance policy for Bogaerts, if he’s not quite ready for the big leagues in 2014. Either way I really like the idea of the Sox getting Andrus, and I believe that it’s something Ben should seriously look into this offseason if he wants to continue to be bold.
Now none of these may be the answer, but eventually they’ll have to be someone who can be a great for the Sox once again.
Yesterday the Red Sox recalled Aaron Cook, Jose Iglesias, and Will Middlebrooks from AAA. They also optioned Junichi Tazawa and Lars Anderson to AAA and placed Kevin Youkilis on the DL. Will Middlebrooks is expected to play third base in the absence of Youk. If you don’t already know, Middlebrooks is the top prospect in the Sox’s farm system. He was tearing up AAA pitching is April and many fans have been hoping to see him called up. Although he’s only expected to stay until Youk is reinstated from the DL, but there’s reason to believe he might over stay his welcome.
Will Middlebrooks is a near complete hitter. He can hit to all fields, but has a lot more power to his pull field. He also tends to expand the strike zone and chase pitches, especially fastballs up. Yesterday, in his debut, he was able to show patience by drawing a walk so he might be more patient at the big league level when he knows he’s not going to be able to handle all of those pitches.
If Middlebrooks can consistently play like he did last night (2 for 3 with a walk) he could find himself staying on the big league roster for a long time. He could end up being very valuable in keeping Youk healthy by having a trusted bat slid into the lineup when Youk is taking an off day which will be frequent. Although Middlebrooks is over hyped, he does has the skill to develop into the player that many project he will be one day. He’s a reason now to get excited even if his first stay isn’t for long.