The Pirates are surprisingly looking for a shortstop in a place where Boston is not
The Red Sox have asked about the price for reliever Joel Hanrahan, and the Pirates, Hanrahan's current employer, have in turn targeted a specific Boston prospect in return. Jose Iglesias, who does not need to be in the majors in 2013 for the Red Sox thanks to the signing of Stephen Drew, is who John Perrotto is reporting the Pirates are intrigued by.
If you think the Red Sox have had it bad over the course of the last near-decade at shortstop, you should probably avert your eyes from what Pittsburgh has received. Pirates shortstops, over the last five years, have hit a collective .245/.292/.338 in over 3,000 plate appearances. It's no wonder they would be fine with Iglesias' bat at the position, especially since he would have the finest glove of any Buc's shortstop since Jack Wilson. And, with Pedro Alvarez at third base, any extra range would be a positive on the left side of the infield.
This doesn't necessarily mean the Red Sox are just going to hand Iglesias over. Drew is just in town for the one year, and Xander Bogaerts, the next shortstop in the system, will be just 20 years old in 2013, and might not even be a shortstop in the long run. In addition, Hanrahan has his own question marks after walking well over five batters per nine innings in 2012. While he's been a dominant force in relief during his three-plus seasons in Pittsburgh, he's a free agent after 2013, meaning he would just be in town for the one year. Before qualifying offers, that might not have mattered so much, as Hanrahan would have qualified as a Type-A free agent, bringing the Red Sox two compensation picks when he bolts. Now, though, it's more likely Boston would simply let him walk, rather than risk paying him whatever the qualifying offer happens to be a year from now. (The offer is the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball, and for the purposes of this off-season, that meant $13.3 million.)
Now, if there's some kind of package deal in the works, it might be worth listening. If the Red Sox are able to send Iglesias to Pittsburgh along with a couple of relievers they don't have room for on the roster, and get back Hanrahan and more in return, that's one thing -- depending, of course, on what exactly the "more" portion is.
That being said, if Boston is internally convinced Iglesias is never going to hit, it might make sense to capitalize on him while they still can. But it's tough to know just what they're thinking in that regard.
The Pirates are also looking at the Dodgers' Dee Gordon, who, like Iglesias, projects to be a zero at the plate. He's two years older than Iglesias, and while he has more major-league experience, he's used that time to hit .260/.299/.315. That's a questionable line even for someone with the glove of Iglesias, and Gordon does not own one of that caliber.