September 26, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pedro Ciriaco (top) forces out Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) at second base during the second inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Case for Pedro Ciriaco as Boston's Opening Day Shortstop

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Sticking your neck out there doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be popular. Caution be damned. First and foremost, I’m a Red Sox fan and I hope I’m speaking for Red Sox Nation when I say that that Pedro Ciriaco, not Jose Iglesias, should be Boston’s opening day shortstop.

Satisfaction with World Championships garnered in 2004 and 2007 should not be enough. Professional sports is about being the best of breed, period, no excuses. If the Sox are timid and “professional” in their approach they run the risk of squandering an opportunity to light a fire that could ignite New England this summer. One need only look to the Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels to see that, as youth has been served, so have exciting pennant races and emerging stars emerged.

Yesterday I made the call that Jackie Bradley should start in left field with Jonny Gomes and either Lyle Overbay /Mike Carp/Ryan Lavarnway (don’t make me more depressed by trying to justify this trio) as the lefty/righty combo to fill in for Boston’s injured DH David Ortiz. Bradley has by a long shot been the best player in Boston’s lineup this spring. Play him dammit! Compete now.

It is for similar logical reasons that I’m supporting Pedro Ciriaco as Boston’s opening day shortstop. It’s not going happen but I’m sticking to my guns.

Jose Iglesias has been offensively challenged his entire career. Yes, he’s a human vacuum cleaner at shortstop – a wizard really – but guys that bat their hat size at this position in the modern era are a dying breed. While it’s true that Ciriaco faded at the end of the 2012 season it’s also true that he batted .293 in 76 games and had some electrifying moments.

Meanwhile Iglesias batted .118 in 25 games with Boston. Iglesias over the past two seasons is a career .981 fielder. Ciriaco is a career .932 fielder. OK, so the defensive edge definitely goes to Iglesias. Still, when shoved into a corner I’d take Ciriaco at .49 less in fielding but a whopping .175 batting average increase in a New York minute. If Iglesias gets the start on opening day and becomes the every day SS until Stephen Drew can return to the lineup from his concussion it’s going to be his last hurrah. He won’t produce offensively and it will hurt the Sox as they try to get off to a fast start. I hope I’m dead wrong. I think I’m dead on.

Ciriaco could be very good for a stretch of games until Drew is ready to return and is also more flexible at a number of infield positions than is the one trick pony Iglesias.

I’m feeling it. Comment and prove me wrong Nation.

Baby give it up or turn it a loose 
Uh ha baby gives it up or turn it a loose 
Starting over again 
Baby, give it up or turn it a loose 
Oh ha baby, give it up or turn it loose 
Oooooh all right
- Give It Up or Turnit Loose, James Brown 

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