The Mets shortstop trade rumors have been endless this offseason. The Troy Tulowitzki rumors went from being reported that there were rigorous talks occurring for weeks, to learning there was never any extensive talks at all. At this point in the offseason, all signs point to Wilmer Flores beginning the season as our everyday shortstop. Best-case scenario, with him, you’re looking at average defense with solid offense.
However, many people, including Sandy Alderson, would prefer a better glove out there at shortstop than Wilmer. However, the shortstop market is thin with true shortstops being at such a premium nowadays. We have a perennial Gold-Glove-winner-to-be in center field, Juan Lagares. We also have a two-time Gold Glover at third base in captain David Wright. With our premium pitching staff, we should have more standout defenders like them to compliment our arms.
There is a player out there in the baseball universe that I believe can help us not named Tulowitzki, and someone the Wilpons can afford.
Cut back to 2013, when Miguel Cabrera won his third consecutive batting title and second consecutive MVP. Max Scherzer won a Cy Young award, and teammate Anibal Sanchez finished 4th in voting. All around, the Tigers were a fun team to watch. But when I tuned in to watch them play, it was not the Verlander curveballs or Victor Martinez plate discipline that caught my eye… It was 24 year old shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Iglesias, now 25, did not play in the major leagues in 2014 due to stress fractures in both shins diagnosed during 2014 spring training. However, recently, Tigers’ head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told the Detroit News that Iglesias is on track to be completely healthy for spring training.
So why am I suggesting we trade for a 25 year old with only 424 major league at-bats and bum shins? Because that man can field his position as well as anyone. He has incredibly quick hands and exhibits a kind of athleticism only shared on the Mets by Juan Lagares. Those clips are just the beginning. Like Juan, he makes the easiest of plays look simple.
Is he a good hitter, you ask? In those career 424 major league at-bats, he sports a .274/.325/.354 slash line with 4 home runs and 6 stolen bases. However, in 2013, his first “full” season, he had an impressive .303/.349/.386 line split between the Red Sox and Tigers. During that season he was not a starter because of higher profile shortstops on his teams (Stephen Drew on the Red Sox and Jhonny Peralta on the Tigers).
Iglesias is someone who would be perfect to have on the bench. He is capable of playing gold glove shortstop and second base, so during close games, Terry Collins can slot him at either position for a defensive upgrade. He’s also no slouch with the bat, as I pointed out in 2013 he batted .303.
Mets fans are not concerned with Wilmer Flores or Daniel Murphy because of their bats; it’s their gloves that unnerve us. The Mets have this amazing pitching staff, but their defense in the middle infield leaves a lot to be desired. There will likely be a lot of 1-0 or 2-1 games this season, and while I would like to have Flores in the lineup for most of the game to drive in runs, when Mejia/Parnell/Familia come in to close it out in the ninth, I want a gold glover out there.
Also, with Eric Young Jr. seemingly not coming back, Iglesias would provide some decent speed off the bench. He is not the speedster EY is, very few are, but he is definitely capable of stealing a base and wreaking some havoc.
Why shouldn’t we go trade for him right now? For one thing, he is still injured. He is still recovering from his dual fractured shins. However, he is expected to be ready for spring training and the prognosis and reports have all been good.
The fact of the matter is that the Wilpons are unwilling to spend big bucks as we all know too well, which is why Ian Desmond at $11.5 million doesn’t appear to be a realistic option in addition to the cost in prospects.
However, going after a .300 hitting gold-glove caliber middle infielder poised to make only $1.65 million this season seems well within reason for them. As a fan, I would be a lot more comfortable with Flores at short and Murph at second knowing that Iglesias is on the bench, ready to provide a major upgrade late in the game.
What do you think? And, as always, LET’S GO METS!!