José Iglesias should be back for the Red Sox in 2022
In sports we often hear about the “clubhouse guy,” or the “locker-room guy,” and when I think about that, I think about José Iglesias. The Red Sox brought back their former infielder after this season’s Trade Deadline and he quickly became one of the best players on the team. To some, that may sound a bit silly but when you look at the situation, he was a massive reason why they even made it to the postseason.
While he hasn’t quite lived up to the potential that has surrounded his name since making it to The Show in 2011, he hasn’t been a bust either. He was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2009 and would make his MLB debut in 2011. He’d play in 35 Major League games for Boston over the course of 2011-2012, before being traded to the Detroit Tigers at the Trade Deadline in 2013.
As sports can often become a bit romantic, he made his return to the organization at the tail end of this season. Due to the fact that he was brought back after the Trade Deadline and not on the 40-Man roster, he wasn’t eligible for the postseason. That didn’t stop him from giving his absolute all each and every night until the last grain of sand fell through the hourglass.
Through 23 games with the Red Sox in 2021, Iglesias totaled a .356/.406/.508 slash four doubles, one triple, one homer, and seven RBI. It was the definition of making as much out of the time that he was given and I’m sure he opened some eyes in Boston’s front office. He wasn’t just a dynamo in the batter’s box as his strong play at second base helped settle a very poor defensive infield.
While filling in for Christian Arroyo at second base, José amassed a .978 FLD% with just one error to 28 assists and seven double plays. I’ll take that all damn day, without a doubt. Yesterday, Bloom spoke about a ton of topics and one thing that he mentioned was the flexibility that the Red Sox have this winter with players who can cover multiple positions. Their roster isn’t as rigid as some others around the league, which is a reason why I’d like to see Iglesias back in Boston next year.
I don’t see a long-term deal in the cards for the soon-to-be 32-year-old infielder but something on the smaller side of things should definitely be on the table. With Kiké Hernández pretty much-calling centerfield home now, that leaves just Arroyo at second while the Red Sox await the development of Jeter Downs.
Having another veteran on the roster, one that was a spark for this team both on and off the field, could only bolster their postseason hopes in 2022. Look no further than when Arroyo laid down that fantastic bunt in the ALCS, it was Iglesias that gave him the tip on how to connect.
That’s the kind of support that he brings to the table to Alex Cora’s side. He can be a player-coach of sorts, contributing to the team’s success both on and off the diamond.
José only made $3.5M this past season and I’m sure he’d be willing to come back to the Red Sox for a similar salary. Considering Boston is sitting pretty with the CBT at around $175M, they’ll have plenty of cash to play with this winter.
Offering Iglesias something in the market of 2-years/$8M won’t break the bank or even scratch the surface. Even if he doesn’t match what he did in 2021 statistically, what he offers in experience and chemistry is more than worth it.
I was really surprised to see José make his return to Boston this season and I was even more surprised to see him thrive. He’s one of those guys that’s always had the ‘potential’ tag attached to his name and though it was for a short time, he definitely met it here.
I’d love to see Chaim bring him back in order to beef up the bench and defense as the Sox continue to evolve this lineup ahead of 2022. This team has a history of bringing in guys late in the year and having them contribute massively to its success, Iglesias is the latest chapter in that story.