The Kinder, Gentler Troll.

You asked for kindness. You asked for insight. I tried...

I read the comments. I see that there are those amongst you that think I am too mean. Fair enough, I really have no interest in being mean, near as much as I want to modify how ridiculous professional pieces are these days. Seriously, they are bad.

You know this…

When your job is to read bad media pieces week after week, it becomes infuriating, and my responses indicated such. However, this week, I am going to attempt to find one particularly aggravating piece from the week that was the continued employment of Nick Cafardo and offer a reasoned researched response.

It did not take long to find the paragraph dedicated, unsolicited, to Cafardo’s giant [man-crush] over Jose Iglesias. Please note that this does not come from a mailbag, it is in his baseball notes, and is supposed to be a piece about Deven Marrero (who has me all sorts of excited as a possible Major Leaguer). How much does Nick teach us about Marrero? Check out the full, entirely in context, thought:

Those who have seen the Red Sox’ first-round pick last year, shortstop Deven Marrero, play consistently think he’s a very good all-around player who will be a very good big league player. But, as one American League scout put it, “He’s not [Jose Iglesias defensively. Nobody is.” Iglesias entered Saturday hitting .435/.486/.581. It’s 19 games, but the sample size is growing. He’s starting to prove he can be a major league hitter to go along with off-the-charts ability at short. He’s also played a great third base in the absence of Will Middlebrooks, currently rehabbing
at Pawtucket after a DL stint because of back spasms. Iglesias creates a compelling case by the day to unseat Stephen Drew, but I doubt the Red Sox will do it. Drew is here for a year at $9.5 million.

Listen, I love Jose Iglesias. Ask any of my closest friends, I am overly-obsessed with him. I've made reasoned arguments for him (If he can be a slightly below average hitter and a 2.0 WAR defender, he is worthy starter and 9 hitter), ridiculous arguments for him (SERIOUSLY!!! Did you see that play...he's WAAAAAAY better than Mike Aviles!...or...He's better in the field than Brandon Crawford, about as bad at the plate...and the Giants won a World Series with him at SS), and looks based arguments (he is sexy in the field...). I am an unashamed, unabashed fan. But, I know who he is. I am realistic.

Think about Iglesias from this point of view: his BABIP is a staggering .508 as of Sunday. He has 9 of 31 hits in the infield. His spray chart is nondescript, which could indicate balls are just falling. He has never hit .300 at any level (for a full-ish season), let alone in the best league in the world. No scout thinks he can hit.

Credit Sitting Still

Yet, Cafardo wants you to think that his sample size is “growing.” Well, yes, a sample size, by definition, grows with every plate appearance. Yes, it has been a shocking bonus to have Iglesias hit like he is Ty Cobb for 79 at bats. And OMG, the defense at whatever position he plays.

But, no one believes this is who Iglesias is, save perhaps for Cafardo, his biggest fan. In fact, Jose Iglesias likely owes Nick Cafardo 3% agent fees.

But look at what else is missing in this article, which is shaping the thought process of the average fan in the Boston market. It is missing that Stephen Drew has been a positive offensive bWAR player (0.9) and defensive player (1.0) this year. That his brutal start weighs into his stats all season. That his OPS is over .800 since the start of May. He is a very good player. He has been a good player in Boston. He is more than just a $9.5 million dollar investment, as Cafardo continually deconstructs him to be. I am glad Stephen Drew is on this team. You should be, as well.

Next, Will Middlebrooks has been the hitter we all assumed Iglesias would be (and that we maybe should be concerned Iglesias will return to being – regression to the mean, and all). He is coming back. If Middlebrooks wrestles the job back, and let’s all hope he plays well enough to do so, there is nothing at all wrong with internal competition. Some teams cannot find two Major Leaguers in their organization to handle the left side of the infield at the plate and in the field. We have three, and that is before we speculate at Xander Bogaerts’ maturity. Be blessed, be thankful, do not create drama that runs one of them out of town. One of the three will be on the
DL again before the season is over. Depth matters.

Finally, this was supposed to be about Marrero. So, why does his scouting report become about Jose Iglesias. So what if he cannot field like Iglesias? Does he profile as a better hitter? What do his “all around skills” profile as? What do scouts think about his .248/.313/.343 so far in High A (concerns me some). Why are scouts not yet concerned?

We do not know a lot about Marrero, yet. Cafardo does right to ask about him, and present him to Boston. However, he shows his bias by making a Marrero feature about Iglesias.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Deven Marrero Jose Iglesias Nick Cafardo Mail Bag Will Middlebrooks Xander Bogearts

Thinks Pedro deserved the MVP and that Justin Verlander did not, that Dwight Evans was better than Jim Rice, that Marty Barrett was a worthy choice as favorite Red Sox player when I was a child, that J.D. Drew was very good for the Olde Towne Team, that Fenway Sports group owning Liverpool is not a proper reason to support that loathsome soccer club, that Peter Gammons needs a key lock on his cell phone, still thinks that Nomar Garciaparra is better than Derek Jeter, and that, finally, there is no such thing as being completely bias-free. When not writing about or watching the Red Sox, I moonlight as a father, a husband, a pastor, a doctoral candidate, an infielder and #2 hitter on the church softball team, soccer fan, Disney pass holder, snark manufacturer, and pizza connoisseur. Free time free since 2001.

10 Responses to “The Kinder, Gentler Troll.” Subscribe

  1. Chip Buck June 11, 2013 at 6:33 PM #

    Nice piece, Tim. Great analysis. I disagree with you on Iglesias, but I'm hopeful that he'll turn out well. (All negativity I'm spewing about the defensive whiz aside.) I still think that Xander Bogaerts is the best option for shortstop should he continue to prove he can play the position at the very least a Hanley Ramirez circa 2006-2009 level along with above average offense.

    As for Marrero, I'm not really sold on him. I like him, but I see a lot of question marks about him offensively. I think he'll be better than Iglesias offensively, but nowhere near as good defensively (as good as all of the scouting reports claim him to be). I don't really know where I'm going with this, but sharing my thoughts.

    Either way, great piece. Snarky or analytical, it's all good.

  2. Lyndsay June 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM #

    The big question is whose body Nick Cafardo had to help bury in order to get that job at the Globe. He offers no original insight or analysis whatsoever. Watched him play Remy to Don Orsillo for last night's 14-inning affair, and my God, he is AWFUL in the booth. It was mostly silent, and he would once in a while make a comment about Don's eating habits, or make some incredibly obvious observation that anyone watching could make. Overall, he contributed absolutely nothing to the broadcast. So, is he someone in the business's illegitimate son? Who is he extorting? Those are the only possible explanation for his continuing irrelevant contributions in a relevant job.

    • Chip Buck June 12, 2013 at 9:20 AM #

      I KNEW IT! I knew I wasn't the only one who thought Cafardo was burying bodies all over the place! Even our very own Daniel Poarch ignored my mailbag pleas to know where he exactly he buried everyone. It's a conspiracy, I tell you! A CONSPIRACY!

  3. Tim June 11, 2013 at 9:34 PM #

    I missed Cafardo in booth because I live in St Pete and I was forced by MLB's neandethalic policies to watch the local feed. I bet it was AWFUL!

  4. Marcos June 12, 2013 at 1:38 AM #

    Who cares? Yea he loves Iglesias, can't blame him. But looking at the broader picture I feel the first 2 selections of the 2012 draft were too safe. Marrero and Johnson are both low ceiling, high floor players. In other words, we probably have a UTL and LOOGY at the MLB level.

    • Chip Buck June 12, 2013 at 9:23 AM #

      I liked the Marrero pick at the time, but I like him a whole lot less right now. I have Johnson ranked as the 11th best SP (12th pitcher overall) in the system. Not high on him at all. Then again, I prefer high ceilings to high floors. Pat Light is probably the worst of the 2012 first round picks so far. I don't know if it's been nagging injuries or if he's contracted the Greenville Ebola that's affecting their pitchers, but he's been awful.

      I agree that the 2012 draft probably won't turn out all that good, but the 2009 draft is definitely the worst.

      • Hunter Golden June 12, 2013 at 3:35 PM #

        Johnson is basically Joe Blanton lite.

        • Chip Buck June 12, 2013 at 7:40 PM #

          Blanton is a good comp for Johnson. I also like to comp him to Joe Saunders.

  5. Tim June 12, 2013 at 3:15 PM #

    Last years draft was considered weak going into it. That is likely part of the conundrum. Whereas 2011 was one of the deepest in memory, and it is shows in the players we walked away with. I was disappointed at picking Johnson at the time, but was taking a player who could contribute as a swing starter/bullpen arm better than taking someone who had some vague sense of upside – when there were not that many players like that available in the first place?

    • Chip Buck June 12, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

      Absolutely. Plus, the new slotting system played a factor as well. Teams were pretty conservative last year in giving out bonuses. Hence why Mark Appel didn't sign and went #1 overall this year.