INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the idea of adding a shortstop is a “back-burner” issue for the team given their other needs.
The Red Sox are being careful not to say they’re planning on 22-year-old Jose Iglesias getting the job. But that is clearly what they are hoping will happen.
“I think we’re going to see where we are. We think Jose is ready to help the major league team, depending on what the rest of the team looks like. If we feel like we need to build some protection in that area, as the offseason goes on we’ll consider that.
“Nobody is going to be given anything. If he’s given an opportunity to win the job in spring training, then he’ll have to win the job.”
The Red Sox have Pedro Ciriaco on the roster but he is viewed as more of a bench player than a regular. Cherington said that 20-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the organization’s top prospect, would likely be invited to spring training. But they’re expecting him to start 2013 in the minors.
Bogaerts has played only 23 games above Single A.
Iglesias will not play winter ball. He has been told instead to work on developing more strength and will be spending time at the team facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
“We’ve talked to him a lot about his offseason and about the importance of a good offseason from a strength standpoint,” Cherington said. “He has a plan in place and people that he’s working with.”
One likely scenario: The Red Sox give Iglesias every chance to win the job but also sign a veteran backup.
A few other notes:
• The eight free agents tendered $13.3 million qualifying offers have until Friday at 5 p.m. (ET) to accept or decline.
That group is: OF Michael Bourn (Braves), OF Josh Hamilton (Rangers), RHP Hiroki Kuroda (Yankees), 1B Adam LaRoche (Nationals), RHP Kyle Lohse (Cardinals), RHP Rafael Soriano (Yankees), RHP Nick Swisher (Yankees), and OF B.J. Upton (Rays).
It would be a bit of a surprise if any of the players accepted. Any team signing them would forfeit a draft pick. Because the Red Sox have a protected pick, they would lose a second-round pick.
The Sox have interest in Kuroda and LaRoche in particular. Hamilton, Lohse, and Swisher also are on their radar.
• The Red Sox are interested in free agent RHP Kyuji Fujikawa. The 32-year-old has been one of the best closers in Japan.
• Bids were due this afternoon on Korean LHP Ryu-Hyun Jin. He has been posted by the Hanwha Eagles. Teams will bid for the right to negotiate with Jin, who is represented by Scott Boras.
The Rangers and Cubs are among the teams interested in Jin. Cherington would not say whether the Red Sox are involved did but acknowledge that the team has done a lot of work on Jin and knows him well.
• The Red Sox are about to announce how their medical department will be structured.
• Cherington said the only internal candidates to play first base are Mauro Gomez and Jerry Sands and are seen more as platoon candidates.