Last week I was perusing the list of top AL positional prospects in hopes of Miguel Sano news (featured in the 2011 documentary, “Ballplayer: Pelotero,” now streaming on Netflix), and I began reading about Boston shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts.
From the description he seemed like a blue-chip player, and the reason that Stephen Drew was signed to a 1-year deal. He can field, hit, and run, and seems to be someone the Red Sox brass are high on. Unfortunately, this leaves current shortstop/third base filler-in Jose Iglesias the odd man out for next season.
With Jhonny Peraltaset to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, it might make sense for the Tigers to attempt to acquire Iglesias from the Red Sox to man the position for the forseeable future.June 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Jose Iglesias (10) makes a throw against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Iglesias, 23, has been in the Red Sox system since 2010, and from what I’ve read about him he’s known more for his glove than for his offense, with descriptions like “Ozzie Smith-slick” and “Elite defensive skills” bandied about. He has been called up to play shortstop for the Sox for the last three years, and has a 6.9 UZR, a 17 OOZ, and a 5.4 RngR in 293.1 innings. His speed seems to be above average, but after all the praise about his glove and his legs lies his weakness: he’s not that great a hitter right now.
In the minor leagues he’s had a few incredibly lucky years with BABIP, and his walk rate has trended a little low. However, this season in the big leagues, he’s walking at a 7.7% clip, striking out a manageable 12.8%, and he’s sporting a 1.7 WAR. His ISO (.143) and BABIP (.500) are looking like aberrations (….a resounding “Duh” with the BABIP), but in an environment like Detroit, where he’d be a fixture in the lower part of the order, he’d have further time to develop. Maybe he turns into a .270/.340/.350 kind of guy who can steal 20 bases.
But the Tigers can further expand on this deal by also asking for former Tiger Andrew Miller, who could be that lefty power arm in the bullpen that’s been missing.
Miller currently leads all AL relievers (and is third overall in the major leagues) with a 14.67 K/9. He’s actually been better this season against righties (.160) than lefites (.275) due to his slinging delivery. He’s made some serious strides since adopting a position in the Boston bullpen, and coupled with Jeff Jones maybe he can develop into not just a LOOGY, but a guy who can pitch in high-leverage situations.
In terms of salary, Iglesias is under team control through 2018 and is in the last year of a 4 year $14.24 million dollar contract, while Miller is arbitration elligible for one more year. I’m uncertain if Mike Illitch plans on paring payroll after this season, but if the Tigers are planning life after Peralta and Joaquin Benoit they could certainly use young, cheap, and improving players.