In his comprehensive piece on Red Sox shortstop prospects, Conor Duffy recently ran down Xander Bogaerts, Jose Iglesias, Deven Marrero and Jose Vinicio options. Give it a read. It’s well done. Which brings me to my point. Who is really going to play shortstop for the Red Sox in 2013?
With all due respect, for a multitude of reasons, none in the quartet listed above are up to the full-time rigors of one of baseball’s most demanding positions, at least in 2013. Bogaerts is still physically maturing and will soon outgrow the position. Iglesias may someday – someday – be Boston’s shortstop but in the modern era a human vacuum that nevertheless bats his hat size doesn’t stand a chance of hacking it long-term. Both Marrero and Vinicio are currently nearly carbon copies of Iglesias so it appears Boston has a bit of a bland pool. Let’s shake this up.
Pedro Ciriaco has some sizzle and can bring home the bacon if he learns some plate discipline.
When he made a splash mid-season 2012 against the Yankees, Ciriaco smoked, stroked and raked. His strong arm and range are pluses in the hole and up the middle. Not a lot of people talk about him as Boston’s 2013 every day shortstop. I think his play last year puts him squarely in the conversation. Another strong spring will put pressure on John Farrell to keep him in the lineup.
With the likes of Jason Bartlett, Yuniesky Betancourt and Johnny Peralta at the top of the free agent class, it’s easy to see that the shortstop free agent market is paper thin. Going out and finding a solid replacement to fill the hole that Mike Aviles plugged during a surprisingly solid 2012 won’t happen. Hey, Marco Scutaro is a free agent. Oh wait. Never mind.
If Ciriaco can put an end to the shortstop conversation for the time being with strong field play and more consistent, less free-wheeling at bats he could provide some stability to a revolving door that otherwise will continue to spin.
Since 2004, the Red Sox have had 29 different shortstops. Here’s the breakdown by year and number of games in which they appeared.
Oh it’s simple, all the pain that you go through
You can turn away from fortune, fortune, cause that’s all that’s left to you
It’s lonely at the bottom, man, it’s dizzy at the top
But if you’re standing in the middle, ain’t no way you’re gonna stop
- In Through The Out Door, Led Zeppelin