With C.C. Sabathia on the mound, Jose Iglesias dropped a cheeky bunt that landed between Robinson Cano, Lyle Overbay, and C.C. It was, no doubt, a brilliant bunt that was perfectly placed. It was also indicative of who Jose Iglesias is as a hitter. On a night when C.C. did not have his best stuff (5 IP, 7 ER), the only time that Iglesias got on base all night (in 11 innings!) was on the bunt. Other than that, Iglesias found himself in two strike counts every other at bat of the evening (usually 0-2 after 2 pitches).
Sunday night is a game that is easy to pick on, but Iglesias is now .237/.292/.254 for the month of July. That is a terrible sample size with an arbitrary end point, but with only 54 starts in the Major Leagues this year, everything about Iglesias is an arbitrary end point with a small sample. Sadly, the July slash line looks a lot like the projections of both scouts and prognosticators. It would be hopeful to call this an inevitable slump, but Iglesias is a career .257/.307/.314 hitter in the Minors (against Minor League pitchers, obviously), he was not going to suddenly turn into a .350 OBP player in the majors.
So where do the Red Sox go from here? Will Middlebrooks is hitting .254/.309/.456 in Pawtucket, so he is no knight in shinging armor. Xander Bogaerts is not yet ready, most likely (and that is not even mentioning the same contractual issues on the back end of his six years of club control that concerned us so deeply in regards to Jackie Bradley just 3-4 months ago). He is, however, hitting 252/.360/.454 in Pawtucket and comes with the most upside of any of the options.
Jose Iglesias will play solid defense at third were we to keep him there, but this July line is simply who he is. We cannot expect more, anything above the line he has given us this month is just gravy.
How about this scenario – what if the Red Sox played off of Iglesias playing the best he possibly can, and move him as a part of a deal for Jake Peavy. Most sources seem to believe Peavy is available. Peavy is a solid #3/#4 pitcher and signed to reasonable, short-term contract. His numbers have been solid in a launching pad of a home stadium (U.S. Cellular Field) with a horrific defense behind him.
Enter Iglesias, if nothing else he is a brilliant defender. Recently, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs suggested that the White Sox may be interested in Deven Marrero as an heir apparent for Alexi Ramirez (in that deal the concept was Marrero for Jesse Crain – I hate that trade, even though I am realistic about Marrero’s ceiling and his being blocked). Perhaps the White Sox could be tantalized by us
starting with a plus/plus defender, Iglesias, at the key defensive position as a starting point for Peavy. Surely, the Red Sox would need to sweeten the pot with the likes of Drake Britton and/or Bryce Brentz, but surely that is getting close to enough for Peavy. Then again, Kenny Williams is still working for the White Sox, and God only knows if or what their plan is…
From there, the Red Sox could play Russian Roulette at ss/3b with Middlebrooks/Drew/Bogaerts hoping that it could give the team more offense than the .220/.250/.275 Iglesias is likely to put up. Beyond that, they would get a major upgrade mid-rotation that would also solidify everything behind it, all the way through the bullpen.
Listen, I love Jose Iglesias as much as the next guy. He is scintillating in the field and that, from the shortstop position, is as exciting as triples and stolen bases. Seriously, it will be fun to have the Iglesias or Andrelton Simmons arguments for the next decade. But it may be time to be honest with ourselves and allow his offense-less game become someone else’s problem.
Personally, having Peavy in the rotation and Xander Bogaerts doing a Manny Machado impression for the rest of 2013 (before shifting Bogaerts to SS for 2014 and letting Garin Cecchini battle WMB for the 3b position) strikes me as the most prudent manner for the Red Sox front office moving forward.