While the Boston Red Sox continue to search for corner outfielders and starting pitchers, they can’t forget that they don’t necessarily have a shortstop either.
Mike Aviles—who went to the Toronto Blue Jays in the John Farrell deal—played short for majority of the 2012 season, with prospect Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco also seeing time later in the year.
Now that Aviles is gone, Iglesias is the best in-house option to play on a daily basis going forward. That is, of course, if the Red Sox don’t bring someone else in during the offseason.
Iglesias is a defensive mastermind who hasn’t figured it out at the plate just yet, and it’s still to be determined whether his bat will ever get going. He had eight hits in 68 at-bats last season with the Red Sox, and his minor league numbers haven’t been overly impressive either. His inability to produce offensively has definitely held his progression back, and now he may not even get a real shot at the starting job.
The Red Sox are looking into free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew—who played with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland Athletics last season—as well as Cleveland Indians star Asdrubal Cabrera, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
Drew is a solid option, but Cabrera is clearly the better of the two, offensively and defensively. The Red Sox could easily pry Cabrera from Cleveland, too, since they made a deal to acquire Aviles from the Blue Jays who could end up being their starting shortstop. The Indians are willing to deal Cabrera, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
It’s tough to find much of anything wrong with acquiring Cabrera. The 27-year-old is set to make $6.5 million next season and $10 million in 2014 before he hits free agency. He’s been an All-Star the past two seasons, is a good doubles hitter and has above-average power for a shortstop.
The problem isn’t Cabrera himself, but the Indians and what they’re looking to get for him. As Knobler writes and as does ESPN’s Buster Olney, Cleveland is seeking young, front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher for his services. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they don’t have much of that they can afford to give up.
Boston’s only young starters are Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront, who will all be needed in the starting rotation next season. The rest of the rotation—which will most likely include John Lackey—is still very much up in the air.
The Red Sox have yet to sign a free-agent starter or negotiate a trade for one, and without even just one the three aforementioned young arms, the Red Sox would be putting themselves at an extreme disadvantage—virtually digging their current hole even deeper.
Sure, Boston could experiment with some of the Triple-A starters or even a few players who pitched out of the bullpen last season, but that didn’t work out last time with Daniel Bard and it would be somewhat shocking if they gave that another go.
What it comes down to is that unless the Indians are going to change what they’re looking for or are going to accept prospects in return for Cabrera, the Red Sox just can’t afford to acquire him. Filling a void is usually a good thing, but in this instance, it would only create another one.