FORT MYERS, Fla. When the Red Sox signed Jose Iglesias in September 2009 to a four-year 8.25 million contract, including a 6 million signing bonus, the defensive whiz was supposed to be their shortstop of the future. But Iglesias has not yet followed through on his promise and could soon find himself squeezed out.
Iglesias was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of August last season and in 68 at-bats he hit just .118 with three extra-base hits a home run and two doubles. In response, the Red Sox signed shortstop Stephen Drew this offseason to a one-year, 9.5 million deal with Xander Bogaerts winging his way up the organizational ladder.
Iglesias was caught off-guard when the Sox signed Drew.
A little bit, he said. Nobody tell me anything I was just reading the papers. But, yeah, but they make decisions. I cant control that. All I can control is be a better player every day, come to the park early, and get better, put myself in good position to help this team to win some ball games.
But it is likely the team Iglesias will be helping, at least early in the season, will be Pawtucket. General manager Ben Cherington has said he wants Iglesias to play every day, which wont happen if the shortstop is in Boston.
Theres nothing I can do about it, Iglesias said. Thats his decision, whatever he thinks is better for the team. My job is to get better, put myself in good position. My career is not one year. Hopefully, I got a lot of years. so prepare myself to get a good 2013 no matter where I play. Thats my goal. Its not my goal to be on the big league team, its my goal be a better player.
Iglesias is just 23. While the Red Sox wont call 2013 a make-or-break season for him, there are some things they need to see from him.
More consistent swing path, said manager John Farrell. I know that theres been a concerted effort for the time that hes been in the system to be an all-field approach, contact type. And I think at times that contact approach and spraying the ball around the field, hell get into a little bit of a weaker positionto execute the swing.
Theres bat speed in there and was evident when he first signed here. So to get back to just concentrating on hard contact and not so much trying to steer the ball around the infield or around the field for that matter. Defensively by all accounts and all of us are probably in agreement that hes ready to play defensively at the major league level. Its a matter of consistent at-bats offensively.
Iglesias said in September he wanted to work to add muscle in the offseason. On Sunday he said he added 11 pounds in a good way to his frame, listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds in 2012. He also spent a few days in Arizona working out with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Iglesias is not going into the season looking to prove anything, he said.
Not really, Iglesias said. My goal is be healthy. I think if youre healthy and youre playing every day, the results will come.