Jose Iglesias: Will Sox' Cuban Defector Unite with Ozzie Guillen in Miami?
It has been a bit more than three months since Miami Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillén enraged the Cuban-American community, by making an especially lll-conceived remark about the Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro.
“I love Fidel Castro,” Guillén told Time Magazine, thus reopening old wounds in the process. “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [S.O.B.] is still there."
But after Guillén read his awful words from the interview, his stomach turned in disgust. Shortly after, Guillén held a press conference.
With hundreds of angry Cuban-Americans protesting outside Marlins Park, Guillén showed incredible remorse for his actions.
“This is the biggest mistake of my life,” Guillén said, per FOX News Latino writer Andrew O’Reilly. “When you make a mistake this big…I will learn from it.”
Now July, Guillén may have a great opportunity to redeem himself.
Wednesday, Doug Miller of MLB.com reported (citing a USA Today article) that the “Red Sox were talking to the Miami Marlins about a doozy of a deal that would allow [Carl] Crawford to take his talents to South Beach in exchange for Hanley Ramirez and Heath Bell.”
That same day, FOX Sports columnist Ken Rosenthal followed suit:
Forget the reasons why Marlins VP Dan Jennings covets Crawford so badly (because Jennings drafted him in 1999, per USA Today). Forget the hot story about Ramirez returning to a Red Sox team that drafted him in 2000. Forget about the exchange or eating of monster contracts between two baseball teams.
Instead, let’s focus a minute on one potential piece of the puzzle Rosenthal talked about in his article.
His name is Jose Iglesias.
This 22-year-old shortstop prospect was supposed to be the future face of the Boston Red Sox. But according to Rosenthal, this recent Cuban defector may be packaged with Crawford to Miami in exchange for either Ramirez or Reyes.
For Red Sox fans, the very thought of trading Iglesias seems appalling, to say the least. He is, after all one of the most exciting young shortstops in all of baseball.
But should Boston’s front office pull the trigger on a trade that brings Ramirez or Reyes to Fenway, this would leave very little room for Iglesias.
With the shortstop position now filled, Dustin Pedroia playing second and Will Middlebrooks playing third for the Red Sox, Iglesias essentially has no place to play.
This is where things could get very interesting.
Say Iglesias—a recent defector from Cuba—were to be traded to Guillén’s Marlins.
Would these two men be able to co-exist on the same team, in a city heavily populated with Cuban-Americans still perturbed with Guillén?
It sure would be tough, especially after Iglesias took a strong stance against Guillén for his remarks on Castro.
"It is a big deal," Iglesias told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. "So many people die in the ocean trying to get here because, Cuba, everybody knows how that is. There have been a lot of hard times there over the past 50 years."
But as stated earlier, Guillén has shown remorse for his actions. And he has also earned a reputation throughout baseball for fighting for his ballplayers.
These facts may blend with Guillén’s own disdain for the president of his former country (Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez) to ultimately unite Guillén and Iglesias.
More positives for Iglesias, his father and brother live in Miami, according to MacPherson. Playing for the Marlins would certainly give Iglesias’ family a much greater opportunity to watch him play.
Better yet, Iglesias could become an instant hit with the Cuban-American community in Miami. In time, Iglesias could become baseball’s version of Florida State Senator Marco Rubio.
And if relations between Guillén and Iglesias go well, it may help extinguish the firestorm Guillén sparked with the Cuban-American community just a few months ago.
Of course as with all trade rumors this time of year, this is entirely speculative.
But putting everything in perspective, I can see why both the Red Sox and the Marlins would be excited to partake in such a trade.
Even if such a trade is thought to be dead in the water.
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