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 Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.