While the baseball world awaits word on elite Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman’s next move, another prominent player who defected from the island last year has apparently signed.
Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports
that 19-year-old shortstop Jose Iglesias has agreed to an $8 million
deal with the Red Sox and “official word is expected later this month.”
Here’s a scouting report on Iglesias from Kiley McDaniel of Baseball Prospectus:
Drawing attention for his flashy glovework at shortstop, with one
scout grading his fielding as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. His
arm is enough to stick at shortstop, but his range is somewhat limited
by his fringe-average speed. Iglesias makes the most of his ability,
with instincts that enhance his tools and excellent makeup. He bats
from the right side and while his overall offensive package leaves a
bit to be desired, most scouts agree Iglesias will hit enough to allow
him to profile as a big league regular.
He has decent pop in his 5-10 frame, at a maxed-out 180 lbs., though
he can get pull-happy at times. An international scouting director
called Iglesias’ total package, “Ryan Theriot with better hands.”
Iglesias is a defensive-oriented overachiever and executives say he
would be more of a 2nd-3rd rounder if eligible for the recent draft.
“Ryan Theriot with better hands” and “a second or third rounder” is
hardly what you’d expect to hear about a teenager who reportedly just
signed for $8 million, and for a similarly low-upside comparison John
Manuel of Baseball America quotes a scout calling him an “Orlando Cabrera clone.”
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.