Were the Red Sox Wrong To Trade Jose Iglesias?
Regret is a horrible thing.
No one likes to feel regret. It's awful. Sometimes people regret the chances they didn't take and the moves they didn't make, and sometimes people regret bad decisions, things they wish they could take back. Of course, it's healthier to look at those decisions in neither a negative or a positive way, but rather to view them as decisions that were made with the best information available at that time.
Any "bad" decisions, hopefully, can be used as learning experiences.
But that's not how things work in sports, generally, especially when you're talking about personnel moves. General managers are often criticized for the trades they made or didn't make, the free agents they signed or didn't sign, and the draft picks they made or didn't make.
That brings us to the July 2013 deadline trade that sent shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox to the Tigers and saw starter Jake Peavy come to Boston from the Chicago White Sox. At the time, Boston needed to shore up their pitching staff, and Detroit needed a shortstop to replace Jhonny Peralta, who was about to be suspended for the rest of the regular season.
In the end, both teams made the playoffs. Peavy went 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 regular season starts for the Red Sox, and then pitched in three playoff games for Boston as the Red Sox won the World Series for the third time in nine years. Detroit made the playoffs too, but fell short of a championship, although Iglesias finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .303/.349/.386 in 382 plate appearances.
Look, anytime you make a trade and it helps you win a World Series, it's a good trade. There's no taking that banner down, and that World Series video can't be erased.
And even last year, it still appeared as if Boston came out ahead. Iglesias missed the entire 2014 season because of injuries to his shins, and the Sox had called up their stud shortstop prospect, the guy who made Iglesias expendable in the first place, Xander Bogaerts. And although Bogaerts struggled in his first season (.240/.297/.362 in 594 plate appearances), at least he was on the field.
Of course, it's now 2015 and things are a little different. Bogaerts is still trying to find his way, hitting .269/.333/.376 with a weighted on base average (wOBA) of .316 and a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 97, making him a below-league average run producer at the plate, with an fWAR of 0.4.
As for Iglesias, he's off a terrific start to the season at the plate, hitting .349/.400/.482 with an fWAR of 1.2, a wOBA of .387 and a wRC+ of 146, all of which are tops among qualified Major League shortstops. He's walking a little bit more than he did in his rookie season (6.5% to 3.9%) and has cut his strikeouts in half (8.7% from 15.7%) while trading in a higher line drive rate for fewer ground balls.
Iglesias is currently out of the lineup because of a day-to-day groin injury, and there is worry that he may be an injury prone player. But when healthy, he's one of the best defensive shortstops in the game and has proven to be a quality hitter at the plate as well.
It's tempting to say Boston made the wrong move, but that's just not the case. Landing Peavy helped them win a championship, and Bogaerts himself is still just 22 years old. He could yet turn out to be a better player than Iglesias in the long run. But even if he isn't, this is one of those rare deals that worked out well for both sides.
Both sides won, and neither side would likely do things any differently if they could go back to July of 2013. No one in Boston should be feeling any regret at having dealt away a very talented player in Iglesias.
Of course, if Boston hadn't won the World Series, I might be whistling you a different tune.