Jose Iglesias’ slick fielding drew rave reviews in Red Sox camp, so much so that there was some speculation (and comments from manager Bobby Valentine) about the 22-year-old prospect winning the starting shortstop job, but today Boston sent him to Triple-A and essentially handed Mike Aviles the gig.
There’s no doubt that Iglesias’ glove is big-league ready, but he was awful offensively at Triple-A last season, hitting just .235 with a .285 on-base percentage and .269 slugging percentage in 101 games. Any projection based on those numbers would be among the worst in baseball, so it makes sense for the Red Sox to give him more time to develop while turning the position over to Aviles.
Aviles is a career .288 hitter with a .737 OPS and offers plenty of versatility defensively, but he may be stretched as an everyday shortstop and it won’t be surprising if Nick Punto works his way into the lineup some based on his superior defense. Boston is no doubt hoping that they’ll simply be keeping the position warm for Iglesias, but it all depends on him showing some semblance of hitting ability.
The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.
Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.
Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.