The Baltimore Orioles upgraded their shortstop position on Monday, as they have reportedly agreed to a contract with Jose Iglesias.
Last season, the shortstop position was a black hole for the Baltimore Orioles. With Rule V draftee Richie Martin getting most of the action at short, and predictably being far over his head in the majors, Orioles shortstops managed a .676 OPS, 28th in the majors. Virtually anything would be an upgrade with the bat, and Martin also cost Baltimore seven runs at the position, a defensive upgrade would be needed as well.
On Monday, the Orioles acquired that upgrade. According to reports, they have signed Jose Iglesias to a one year deal with a team option for 2021.
Iglesias is not going to make anyone think that he is the second coming of Cal Ripken, or even Mike Bordick, with the bat. However, he did manage a respectable .288/.318/.407 batting line in 2019 with a career high 11 homers; his .724 OPS much better than what the Orioles had at short.
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However, Iglesias is known as a glove first shortstop for a reason. He continued to flash the leather for the Reds last year, saving eight runs at short. His glove alone is worth the contract, as he will add a steady presence in the middle of the infield.
With Iglesias in the fold, the Orioles will now be able to allow Martin to develop. He will presumably begin the 2020 season in AAA, where he can get that development season that he missed in 2019. It is also possible that Martin could look to expand his defensive profile, getting more action at second, and potentially in center.
Iglesias could also be an interesting trade deadline piece. While he is not going to be a difference maker with the bat, teams do value defense, particularly late in postseason games. Even if he does not bring back a premier prospect, he could still be in demand.
The Baltimore Orioles upgraded at shortstop by bringing in Jose Iglesias. They could even improve their future if he performs well.