The Seattle Mariners are looking for a veteran shortstop to help hold down the position until J.P. Crawford is ready. While many fans, myself included, are hoping for Troy Tulowitzki, another name just might make more sense.
That player is, of course, Jose Iglesias. Formerly the shortstop of the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers, Iglesias finds himself on the free agent market for the first time. The Mariners would do well to aggressively pursue a deal for the 29-year-old.
Iglesias is a slick-fielding shortstop with one of the best gloves in the game. His bat leaves more to be desired, but he was decent in 2018. This year, he slashed .269/.310/.389 with 5 home runs, 15 steals, and 31 doubles.
These numbers fall right in line with his career average of .270/.315/.363. The real value of Iglesias is with the glove. Over the past 3 season’s, he has averaged a 1 dWAR or 1 win above replacement with just his defense.
Iglesias graded out as the 4th best defensive shortstop in baseball by Fangraph metrics. He had the 3rd best UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating). With a strong, accurate arm and reliable glove, Iglesias makes a ton of sense.
He will most likely only get a 1-year contract with money somewhere in the neighborhood of Jordy Mercer money. Mercer recently signed a 1-year, $5.25 million. With a short-term commitment and the ability to possibly recoup a prospect around the trade deadline in July, Iglesias is perhaps the best fit for the Mariners.
Iglesias will help stem the tide until J.P. Crawford is ready, without any reason to rush the young shortstop. While not anything exciting with the bat, Iglesias will likely slot into the 9th spot of the lineup.
There, his mediocre OBP won’t matter as much, and his above-average base-running ability will be an asset. A 1-year deal worth between $7-$10 million might seem high, but for a consistent 2 WAR player, it is actually a tremendous bargain.