- September 10, 2021
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Shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was released by the Angels over the weekend, is at Fenway Park Monday, per the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link). The Red Sox announced the signing of Iglesias to a Major League deal and added him to the active roster. Additionally, Boston reinstated reliever Josh Taylor from the COVID-19 list; selected the contract of right-hander Michael Feliz; and returned COVID replacement players Kutter Crawford, Jack Lopez and John Schreiber to Triple-A Worcester. None of the three had to be passed through waivers to be sent down and removed from the 40-man roster because they were specifically appointed as COVID-19 replacements.
The Red Sox, in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak in their clubhouse, have a whopping 11 players in COVID protocol at the moment. That group includes infielders Xander Bogaerts, Christian Arroyo, Enrique Hernandez and Yairo Munoz, leaving the Sox in dire need of some infield help. Jonathan Arauz and Jack Lopez have been lining up in the middle infield in recent days, but Iglesias figures to step in to that mix and begin logging some regular reps while the team awaits the return of Bogaerts and others.
It was a rough season for Iglesias in Anaheim — his lone year with the Angels. The 31-year-old wasn’t able to replicate last year’s enormous production at the plate — or even to come particularly close. It was just 150 plate appearances, but Iglesias posted a career-best .373/.400/.556 batting line with the Orioles in 2021 before slipping back to a .259/.295/.375 slash that falls more in line with his overall career numbers.
More troubling than a return to the norm at the dish, however, has been the decline in Iglesias’ glovework. He’s made 16 errors in 961 innings this year after making just 18 errors in 2393 innings from 2018-20 combined. Iglesias had never made more than 11 errors in a season but already has 10 throwing errors alone, in addition to six fielding errors. Defensive Runs Saved pegs Iglesias at a stunning minus-21 this season, while his Ultimate Zone Rating is a career-low minus-4.9.
Defensive struggles notwithstanding, Iglesias now returns to his original organization as a veteran reinforcement at a critical juncture. The Sox are quite unlikely to run down the Rays, which lead them by eight games in the standings, but are hoping to maintain a three-game lead over the upstart Mariners for the second AL wild-card spot. They’re also just a half-game behind the Yankees for the top AL wild-card spot and would surely like to eek ahead of their archrivals in order to seize home-field advantage in a theoretical wild-card showdown.
The Red Sox originally signed Iglesias back in September 2009 after he left his native Cuba. He spent the next several seasons rising through their minor league ranks and making a handful of big league appearances before settling in as their shortstop in 2013. Boston, however, sent him to the Tigers that summer in a three-team trade that sent Jake Peavy from the White Sox to the Red Sox and Avisail Garcia from Detroit to Chicago. (The White Sox picked up both Frankie Montas and J.B. Wendelken from the Red Sox in the trade as well.)
It’s something of a full-circle moment for Iglesias, who won’t be eligible for the postseason roster due to the fact that he’s joining the organization after Aug. 31. He’ll still have the opportunity to help his original club reach the postseason again, though, and this late change of scenery can also provide him an offseason for the league’s other teams as he preps to head back to free agency this winter.
This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.
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