The Boston Red Sox may be regretting letting one of their former players go.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias has been an absolute beast, if you pardon the overused compliment. The Red Sox let Iglesias go, in a three-team trade, to the Detroit Tigers, in July 2013. According to Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, “Iglesias is on the quite the tear, batting .484 with a .529 on-base percentage, .581 slugging percentage and 1.110 OPS in 10 games (31 at-bats) this season. He has stroked multiple hits in five of his 10 games, including a four-hit game against Minnesota and a three-hit game against Cleveland.”
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At the time, the trade looked like the right decision. The Red Sox acquired starting pitcher Jake Peavy and pitcher Brayan Villarreal in the deal with the Chicago White Sox and the Tigers, respectively. After barely even using Villarreal, he was granted free agency and signed with the Minnesota Twins. Peavy, who helped the Red Sox win the 2013 World Series with a few solid starts, struggled with his form in 2014, going 1-9 in 20 starts, with a 4.72 ERA, before being traded to the San Francisco Giants for Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.
All that remains of the deal for the Red Sox are two players who cannot crack the active roster for the Red Sox.
Meanwhile Iglesias, thought to only be a defensive player, has been hitting very well for the Tigers. He could have been the starting shortstop for the Red Sox for years to come, if they didn’t decide on Xander Bogaerts being the future. The man from Cuba missed all of 2014 with stress fractures in both of his shins, while the man from Aruba hit .240, with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs. Moments of brilliance flashed at the plate, while mediocrity took over by striking out 138 times. Bogaerts also made 20 errors in the field, 10 at shortstop and 10 at third base.
Apr 12, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
However, Bogaerts was on a tear of his own, recently, hitting .395 with 8 RBIs in 38 at-bats.
By the numbers, Iglesias is still the superior player, by a small margin. It is the time in between Iglesias’ injury that may worry some of Red Sox Nation. The Tigers and their fans didn’t have to watch a full season of failure coming from their prized shortstop. He did nothing but succeed, get hurt, get healthy, and succeed again. While Bogaerts has five stolen bases in his career, Iglesias has four already this season.
Iglesias is signed through 2015, with earliest arbitration next season and free agency hits only in 2019. At least four years of Cuban fire in the Tigers’ lineup and infield for Detroit to lick their chops in anticipation. Bogaerts has an additional year at each benchmark, 2017 for arbitration and 2020 for free agency, but for roughly half a million dollars less this season. Possibly the better deal, if only looking at the two contracts and only by a slim margin. Yet, while Iglesias has done nothing but impress, some Red Sox fans may be wondering when the 2014 Bogaerts will peek around the corner, again.
Remember, the Red Sox traded Iglesias after he was hitting .330 in 63 games. What they got in return was a call-up who produced a bit of offense and a lot of frustration, while other assets went elsewhere, quickly. While both men seem to be thriving with their present clubs, one seems like the famous tiger burning bright in the forests of the MLB, while the other seems more like his glass slipper is back on his foot. Will Bogaerts lose it again? Last night, he was Prince Charming in the win against the Baltimore Orioles. Only more time will tell.
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