Today Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reminds us that he really really wants Jose Iglesias to be the Red Sox shortstop. Now. The headline “Approach here isn’t very defensible”—by law, all newspaper headlines must be contain puns—gives away Cafardo’s achy breaky heart right upfront. And whatever sober, reality-based thinking Cafardo attempts to apply in the early ‘graphs of the article gives way rather quickly to breathless indignation.
Aviles is a very good baseball player, but seriously, there is no comparison defensively.
I know it. Valentine knows it. Ben Cherington knows it.
Got that? The GM knows it. The manager knows it. And, dagnabbit, Nick Cafardo knows it.
Now get off my lawn!
Valentine said he never really saw the great range that everyone spoke about and that balls were getting through the hole even with Iglesias out there. Valentine thought it was unfair that when a ball got through the infield with Aviles out there, we all said, “Jose would have had that.”
Truth is, in most cases, he would have.
It’s true. Bobby Valentine is a known liar. Meanwhile, Nick Cafardo has special glasses that give him the eyesight of a peregrine falcon. He knows which of the batted balls missed by Aviles would have been fielded by a real shortstop. And in the case of Jose Iglesias, it’s most of them. Case closed. Now, on to the issue of hitting.
Iglesias hit only .200 in spring training, but he never looked overmatched at the plate.
Never. Not once. Sure, lots of other baseball writers have suggested that Iglesias swings at too many pitches. And hitting coach Dave Magadan has confirmed that Iglesias did indeed regress at the plate this spring, as suggested by Valentine. But who are they? Nick Cafardo has been watching baseball for years.
He struck out three times in 25 at-bats. He bunted, moved runners along, hit balls into the gap, went the other way. His average wasn’t good, but did anyone expect it to be, and more important, did anyone care?
I’m going to infer from this week’s events that the manager and/or the GM care that Jose Iglesias can’t hit, but perhaps by “anyone” Cafardo was referring to the people who really matter: the Boston sports media.
“Just because God delays does not mean God denies,’’ Valentine said. “[Iglesias] will not be denied. That’s what I told him and that’s what Ben believes. Ben told him, ‘It’s not if, it’s when.’ ’’
Oh. So, it kinda sounds like Iglesias will indeed be the Red Sox shortstop, and he may be just a few months—or a Mike Aviles injury—away from being promoted. So, why is Cafardo kvetching? Why the impatience and the indignation, if Iglesias has essentially been promised the job?
But Sox fans are being denied the chance to watch a magician at shortstop.
You’re right, Nick. This is, like, so unfair. I hate it when the management prioritizes the team’s success and favors the methodical, low-pressure development of a prized prospect over the fans’ chance to watch a magic show. Dude, they never shoulda let Pokey Reese go! Why does the front office hate good fielders so much?
Aviles is a better option as an offensive player right now, but we doubt he’ll hit as well as he did in spring training, and then the difference between the two will be even smaller.
We doubt? At this point I had to scroll up to the top of the page to see if the article had a byline of more than one writer. Maybe Tony Mazz or Dan Shaughnessy was looking over Cafardo’s shoulders as he typed, feeding him lines about Bobby Valentine inventing the wrap sandwich—that joke never ever gets old—or positing that Dick Williams would’ve picked Iglesias. Nope. The byline reads “Nick Cafardo.” So what’s with the “we”? Earlier in the article he settled for plain old “I.” Did writing on this subject get his blood boiling so hot that his inner Gollum burst forth, spewing hate speech about that nasty, filthy Bobby Valentine who’s oppressing his Cuban precious?
“We don’t like Avileses very much, do we precious?”
“No! We hates filthy Avileses and his nasty, fat calves. We must murder him!”
“Yesss yesss! We mussst!”
Look, I know special Iglesias is at short because Cafardo et al won’t stop talking about it. And all of Red Sox Nation knows how painfully inept and unlucky the Sox front office has been at bringing in good shortstops over the last seven years. But in what way is Cafardo’s impatient, petulant pining for the prettier, more-magical Jose Iglesias any less superficial or inane than the ill-informed opinions of the “pink hats” whom Cafardo and the other old-school knights of the keyboard love to mock?