Re: do you still like the trade?
posted at 8/22/2013 9:31 PM EDT
In response to notin's comment:
Very nice post, Notin. As usual, well thought out and articulated.
I think a lot of people against this trade are more upset that the Sox traded a young player for one who has already committed the cardinal sin of turning 30. There is a fascination with having a young team with dynasty potential that is nothing more than a pipe dream. How many teams made of young players have ever won anything?
Also, fans seem to have an unrealistic view of why trades are made. The overwhelming majority seem to think they are for discarding unwanted players. For example, there was a thread about trading the underperforming Lester this coming off-season a while back, I suggested that Lackey would have more trade appeal, since he is doing better and his contract is extremely favorable. While some agreed, others pointed out Lackey should not be moved because he is the team’s best pitcher this year. Huh? Fans have been screaming to move Lackey since his first year here, and suddenly now he is a keeper? Exactly who would have taken him before? Oh that’s right. No one cared what he went for, as long as he went.
I like Iglesias, but I think the fascination with his defense is a bit hypocritical as well. I am willing to bet not one person on this board who is suddenly fascinated with shortstop defense realizes that the Sox have already traded the top two MLB career leaders in UZR/150 for shortstops with a minimum of 2,000 innings. (Granted, UZR only goes back to 2002. Like UZR or not, it takes way more into account that any “eye test” its critics advocate instead.) TOP TWO!!! Not only were neither of these players missed, many fans were happy to see one of them go, because he could not hit. Granted, Nick Punto’s best defensive days were behind him by the time he got to Boston, but he has managed to have the career he has had because of his defensive play. And I have NEVER seen a single post about how this team should have kept Adam Everett. In fact, I have never seen anyone clamoring for a defensive-oriented shortstop such as Cesar Izturis, who is available every off-season, and with good reason. (He cannot hit.) But NOW that the Sox have traded away youth – suddenly we are all about defense.
Are the Sox a better team now? I think so. And I think long term their record will bear this out. Right now, their slide is related to the performances of Napoli, Dempster, and some bullpen. These are NOT problems Iglesias was going to fix. Peavy? There is a greater chance he will have an impact is a couple of these areas. If the Sox kept Iglesias, he would be on the bench in favor of the white hot bats of Drew and Middlebrooks, where he would be helping fix nothing. And his future is undetermined anyway, as the Sox still have THREE young left-side infielders (not counting Drew) either on their roster or among their top prospects. If Cecchini does indeed pan out, moving Iglesias also helped towards clearing that logjam as well.
The Sox did NEED another starting pitcher. Buchholz is still out and quality starts from Dempster are seen about as often as Halley’s Comet. Just because you did not think the Sox planned to contend this year is no reason to run up the white flag on a first place team, and hope that the kids from the farm could give you the same innings Peavy has, and will going forward. Exactly which outing from Webster gave you that confidence? How have the recent outings from Workman made you think he was going to keep this team afloat? If these and the other options floundered, would you happily watch this team sink out of playoff contention, knowing that we at least retained shortstop whose future might make him the next Brendan Ryan? Didn’t we all enjoy the collapse of 2011, knowing full well that by watching Kyle Wieland get torched like a car in a Detroit victory celebration, at least we did not trade away any more youth on an actual MLB pitcher who could go 6 innings once in a while? Remember how comforting that was? Oh, that’s right. That month was unbelievably frustrating.
Iglesias certainly had his skillset, but he was certainly not irreplaceable. And he could have played in Boston for 6 more years and never been on another first place team. There is a limit to what kind of players you hold on to when you have a chance to win, and Iglesias is simply not good enough to be one of those players. Age is not enough of a reason to justify this. (And after last year’s .118 showing, I seem to recall A LOT of fans citing he would never be a major league starter. Everyone says they like his defense “even if he hits .250.” OK, but what if he hits .150? Still think his defense is worth it? Nick Punto and his .200 await your answer. (Interestingly, Iglesias has a UZR/150 of 13.4 through 380 innings at SS this year. Nick Punto has a 15.5 UZR/150 in 218 innings.)
And Brendan Ryan is a likely DFA candidate this off-season if you still are heavily into SS defense. In case you are wondering, he is #3 on the career UZR/150 rankings (2,000 innings min.)…
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me. Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
At the risk of putting myself in the company of one of the 2-3 most respected posters on the board, I think Moon and I are very close together on our thoughts about Iggy. We're both defense first guys who believe that a solid SS is a real asset on a team. And if he's young and cost-controlled, so much the better.
Keeping my dislike for this trade in the context of the timing of it, when the trade was made we had a platoon at 3B of Holt & Snyder, neither of whom was the answer, and with Drew signed through this year only, our entire left side of the IF was vacant going into next year, along with 1B.
The book on XBo seems to be that he's not as good defensively as Iggy but is a better bat. There's even been some speculation that SS may not be his best position because of his defensive deficiencies. So I could see him taking his bat to 3B, moving Middy to 1B and having a cost controlled IF for several years. That's nice in itself, but it also could free up (and this is where Moon and I part company), money to sign Ellsbury, or failing that, a SP.
I'll admit that the resurgence of Middlebrooks has made the trade a bit more palatable for me but at the same time our 2014 options at SS are either an unproven one or signing one through FA, and singing one through FA is going to cost money that could better be spent in other ways.
For me it wasn't ALL about Iggy's defense. A lot of my dislike for the trade also stems from the economic side of it and how the trade affected the future of the team both talent-wise and economically.
It's a done deal and I'm coming to terms with it. The proof in this trade is going to come in 2015 and beyond, after Peavy is done here. If Iggy is a GG SS hitting ~.250+ it could look like Bagwell/Anderson redux, but if he's not ... it'll look better. Especially if Peavy gets us into the PS.