Three players for two positions and a decision had to be made. The biggest name Sox’ fans were hoping wasn’t getting a bus ticket straight to Pawtucket was Jose Iglesias. As fans, we didn’t know which variation of players Farrell was going to go with, but he needed to keep Iglesias at the big league level, and he did just that. With the return of Middlebrooks from his back injury and a stint with AAA, there was one too many players on the roster and the odd man out ended up being Pedro Ciriaco, who was designated for assignment. So let’s take a gander into what Farrell may have been thinking as the mighty gavel came down.
Let’s begin by saying you are a liar if you thought that Iglesias would be hitting at a .449 clip on June 12th. When you look at what he brings to the table with the way he is playing of late, the decision was essentially already made for Farrell. The versatility to seamlessly switch from SS to 3B and look as if he’s been playing there for 5 years is remarkable. He has started 15 games at third so far this season and has a big goose egg in the error column. In fact, he doesn’t have an error at any position on the field this year to date. His superb fielding is something we already knew about him though, his bat on the other hand, has been something special to see develop since last year. In 68 AB’s last season, he hit a mere .118. This year he has more than doubled his AVG, OBP, and SLG percentages from a year ago. His work with Dustin Pedroia in the offseason has clearly paid off. Back in February, Pedroia stated that he told Iglesias’ to simplify his hitting approach, “See the ball and hit the ball. Your hand-eye coordination is incredible, so just stop listening to eight hitting coaches and let your natural ability take over.” Apparently, Iglesias has taken that to heart because you can see the difference as clear as day. He’s what I would call a slap hitter. He’s taking what the pitcher is giving him, and slapping it through the infield, or off Green Monster for a wall-ball double and not trying to do too much like he was in 2012. Him getting sent back to AAA for the second time this season wasn’t in the cards this time. He his here to stay, and will split some time at 3B with Middlebrooks, play a little SS, and maybe even 2B when Pedroia takes his annual day off.
Fresh off a solid rehab stint with AAA affiliate Pawtucket, Middlebrooks is back with the team. He was given some extra time in Pawtucket to get healthy and there was certainly no rush to get him back in the lineup with the way the man mentioned above has been playing. Will is definitely an interesting topic for the Red Sox. Everybody in the organization wants to see him perform at the level they know he is capable of, but so far, it hasn’t been there. Now he is coming back to a role that may be a bit weird for him. Not being the everyday starter at third will be hard for him to adjust to I assume, but it is what’s best for the team right now. My belief is that it should take some pressure off of him to live up to his rookie year, and he can relax a little bit and get back on track. The bottom line is that Middlebrooks was always going to be brought back up to the Major League roster. I don’t think a prolonged duration in the minors would be beneficial for Middlebrooks at this stage in his short career.
With a $9.5 million dollar contract, Drew is a guy that if healthy, has to be the Boston Red Sox starting SS. You can’t have that much money sitting on the bench, even if he struggles. Did he get a little more than people would have liked? Yes, but adding depth to the infield back in the off season was key. He’s struggled of late, but still hitting .289 in June. His swing fits the mold for a left hander in Fenway Park, and as he gets hot, look for him to start putting balls over the right field bullpen Like many Sox’ fans, I’d like to see a guy come in and hold down the SS position for years and years. We all know Drew is a one-year fix until someone steps up. We have seen a laundry list of players since the great Nomar Garciaparra was traded away on that fateful day in 2004: Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Alex Cora, Julio Lugo (I can hear the disappointment from here on that one), Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles, and even Nick Green. So as Farrell looks at this roster, Drew is the now, Iglesias or Bogaerts are the future.
Pedro Ciriaco: The odd man out
The Yankee-killer, as they called him last season, was not having a good year by any standards before getting the axe. When you took the time to review Farrell’s decision here, Ciriaco had to be the one to go, unfortunately. Last year’s line of .293/.315/.390 was impressive, no doubt, but everything he brought to the table last year has fallen off the table for the 2013 season. To be honest, I don’t even think the hitting was the reason he ended up getting designated. As a utility man, you have to be reliable enough to play multiple positions at an adequate level. Ciriaco had 7 errors in just 48 total chances so far, and it showed no sign of getting better. As a big fan of the guy, I hope he takes the demotion in stride and stays with it.