Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/22/12
Mike Aviles was the Red Sox' starting shortstop throughout most of the 2012 campaign. When it became clear that Boston wouldn't be contending, he mostly rode the bench, losing playing time to slick-fielding rookie Jose Iglesias and pleasant surprise Pedro Ciriaco. Aviles, however, is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, being shipped out as compensation for new Sox manager John Farrell, and thus leaving the shorstop situation in considerable limbo. In truth, no matter who was playing at short, the position was a weak point for the Red Sox last year. Aviles' 13 home runs and 60 RBIs -- good totals for a shortstop -- masked the fact that, otherwise, he just wasn't very good with a bat in his hands, owning a weak OPS+ of 76 on the year. Likewise, for many fans, Ciriaco was a revelation, providing some much-needed offense and energy to a lineup that was lacking in both. However, as we here at NESN noted while Ciriaco was still hot, his level of play just wasn't sustainable. And, sure enough, once the scouting report on Ciriaco got around the American League and pitchers figured out he would swing at most anything, the utility man fell off a cliff in September and October, owning an OPS of .560 in 111 plate appearances. Meanwhile, all along Iglesias has been viewed as the shortstop of the future, and now having been in Boston for an uninterrupted month, his glove is just as spectacular as advertised, showing some of the softest hands ever to grace the position. That being said, the rookie did nothing to allay fears that his bat wouldn't justify keeping his glove on the field, putting together a plainly ugly body of work of just eight hits (three extra-base hits) in 68 at-bats -- a slugging percentage of .191. In short, at 22 years old Iglesias does have some room to grow and improve, but it's very difficult to see him improving to the point of being a viable, everyday lineup option. Both Ciriaco and Iglesias do have value. Ciriaco, especially, if he can continue to develop and learn to play the outfield, has a skill set that could make him one of the better super-utility guys in the big leagues. His aggressiveness, speed and versatility are the kinds of tools that are valuable in a limited role. However, putting someone who walked just eight times in 76 games into a starting role is just not a recipe for success. Pitchers will undoubtedly exploit that lack of pitch recognition, and thoroughly did as they learned more about the tendancies of the young Ciriaco at the end of 2012. Basically, if he's thrust into an everyday role, you can likely expect results much closer to his September-October statistics than his .801 OPS in July and August. Of course, Xander Bogaerts made it to Double-A by the end of the 2012 campaign, and has continued to rise to the ever-increasing challenge as he's risen through the minor leagues. There are questions about whether or not his glove will continue to play at shortstop, but improving defensive form, footwork and throwing mechanics are the kinds of skills that can be taught. Conversely, pitch recognition is a skill that players either have or they don't -- Bogaerts looks to have it, Ciriaco does not. Of course, Bogaerts is at least a season or two away from contributing at the big-league level, which brings up the inevitable question: What do the Red Sox do at shortstop in 2013? Right now, Ciriaco and Iglesias are the incumbents. However, whether they're capable of making wholesale positive contributions to a ballclub which clearly needs to improve in multiple areas in order to compete next season is questionable at best. The Red Sox now have the financial flexibility to make at least some of the necessary changes to get back on track in 2013.That was the entire point of the August trade which shipped out Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. Don't except the Red Sox to go and spend all money at once, but it stands to reason that the organization will be looking to reinvest at least some of those savings this winter. Even if it's just a temporary solution for a couple seasons while awaiting the arrival of Bogaerts, shortstop should be on top of the list in areas where Boston should dip into that flexibility to upgrade.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NHL brushes aside team relocation rumors

Cleveland Indians Jason Kipnis wins AL Player of the Month

Would four Finals losses make you think twice about LeBron?

Stephen Curry offers reminder that basketball means very little

INTERPOL targets former FIFA officials, sports execs


Cam Newton fulfills promise to mother, graduates from Auburn

LeSean McCoy testy with media over questions about Chip Kelly

It’s time for Jimmy Garoppolo to step up and do his job

Phil Jackson is the architect of a Finals contender

Marcus Mariota 'eating up' Tennessee Titans offense

Eagles insider: Tebow 'has a ways to go' after Tuesday OTA

Coach's corner: The strategies of defending LeBron's isolations

Piazza interested in buying bankrupt Italian soccer team

Tiger talks state of his game, cracks joke about imitating son’s swing

'BQSTQN' Bruins and other Stanley Cup engraving mistakes

2015 NBA Finals preview: Key players for Cavaliers, Warriors

Cavaliers NBA Finals banner showcases injured players

Yankees now the favorite in American League East

Blackhawks-Lightning Stanley Cup Final: Key matchups

JR Smith shares photo calling Bruce Jenner a 'science project'

Joey Gallo arrives in Texas

Dinosaur in Chicago won't wear Blackhawks jersey this year

Can these struggling contenders get back in the playoff picture?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The strategies of defending LeBron's isolations

Cam Newton fulfills promise to mother, graduates from Auburn

2015 NBA Finals preview

Yankees now the AL East favorite

Joey Gallo arrives in Texas

USA Women’s World Cup: No excuse not to win

Projecting rosters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

What Peterson's return means

The Bulls and the culture of fitting in

X-factors for Cavs and Warriors

Pujols: Angels not 'Mike Trout show'

Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.