The announced retirements of Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek have triggered a youth movement in the city of Boston, albeit inadvertently.
Through the ashes of a failed 2011 season (and yes, even with 90 wins, it was a failure) and the slate being wiped clean, there are a lot of fresh new faces taking the field in 2012.
Right now, all of the attention is being given to Jose Iglesias. ESPN Boston's Peter Gammons was a guest on WEEI-FM's Mutt & Merloni show this afternoon, and stated that Iglesias could be "very close to" being the best defensive shortstop in Major League Baseball. Gammons does say, however, that he feels Iglesias needs more time in Pawtucket to develop his bat.
Another name that has been making news this spring has been top-rated Red Sox prospect Will Middlebrooks. Coming fresh off of signing his name to a deal for 2012, Middlebrooks appears primed to be the third baseman of the future.
My question is, just how long will Iglesias and Middlebrooks truly have to wait?
Middlebrooks may find himself playing with the big club sooner than later. In a previous piece, I pointed out how current Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis has only played in one more game over the past three seasons than the man whose name has been ubiquitous with the word "injury": J.D. Drew.
Just how long will Youkilis be able to stay healthy in 2012?
While he's going to be manning the hot corner this season, the reality is he will be vying for a job on this team as the DH for 2013 against David Ortiz.
As for Iglesias, as soon as the kid shows a string of solid hitting in Pawtucket, it would be silly for Bobby Valentine to let him stay in the minors any longer than necessary.
Sure, we may see the left side of the infield with Youkilis and Mike Aviles on Opening Day, but I, for one, would not be the least bit surprised or disappointed to see Middlebrooks and Iglesias playing there by the end of the season and for a good many years to come.