Jose Iglesias struggled in 2011 at Pawtucket, but that wasn't a surprise given he was all of 21 years old and just one year removed from Cuban baseball. Defensively, there have been no questions about him, but his bat needs to approach at least replacement level for him to produce in the majors. With time, this is likely, although not guaranteed. But his performance early on in the spring has caused some to think that the time is now.
Enter Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham in today's Notebook at the Globe:
If the Red Sox send Jose Iglesias back to Pawtucket now, they may have some explaining to do.
Iglesias has emerged as the best shortstop in camp, with another sparkling defensive play and a three-run triple in the eighth inning against the Cardinals Thursday.
It's easy to fall in love with Iglesias given his spectacular glove and the optimism of the season, but let's remember he has had seven at-bats this spring. Yes, he's hitting .286/.375/.571 in those seven at-bats, but it's still a handful of times up. Seven, in fact.
It's good to see him hitting, even in short stretches, given his 2011. He's also looked better at the plate -- more deliberate, more in control than what we've seen out of him in the past -- but it's still very early. There's no reason to rush to open the season with him when he's all of 22 years old, and Mike Aviles is around to man shortstop. Marty Noble of RedSox.com essentially countered Cafardo and Abraham with his story this morning, probably without knowing that's how it would look:
The Sox get more production from second base, with Pedroia, and center field, with Jacoby Ellsbury, than most teams. And the offense derived from their other everyday sources is pretty good, too. They could carry Iglesias' glove and probably not suffer, but they probably can prosper as well with Aviles and not interfere with Iglesias' development. He is, after all, more about tomorrow than today.
Count me in Noble's camp. Iglesias has been exciting in camp, and is the best option down the line if his bat comes around, but there's no need to rush him to the majors when he hasn't conquered Triple-A yet. A good spring from him is a very good sign, but the spring isn't over, and neither is Iglesias's development.
We had some scares with both Carlos Silva and Andrew Miller getting scratched from scheduled appearances, and Carl Crawford having to stop baseball activities for a few days because of wrist inflammation. According to manager Bobby Valentine, things are looking good on the non-Silva fronts right now. (There was no update for Silva, so don't read that as a negative.)
We'll know more for sure with Miller's elbow as the spring and season go on, but it's good to hear that anti-inflammatories seem to have done the trick in place of a scalpel.
The Red Sox signed the 16 players on the 40-man roster not yet eligible for arbitration to contracts. There are no real surprises here, as the 40-man was mostly set anyway. Signing Michael Bowden and Felix Doubront doesn't guarantee them an Opening Day job, as they needed to be under contract anyway -- they still need to be placed on waivers in order to get them back to Pawtucket, should one (or both) pitchers not make the club out of spring training.
The oft-forgotten Junichi Tazawa takes home the largest contract of the group at $920,000, with Mark Melancon and Darnell McDonald the only others to clear $500,000. All told, it's another $7.7 million in contracts to round out the 40-man roster -- and a reminder that the 25-man payroll doesn't necessarily reflect room wiggle room under luxury tax that accurately.